By La Velle
I mentioned recently that Nick Punto had a chance to start at second base next season. Manager Ron Gardenhire today practically named Punto the starting 2B in 2008.
“ We already know what we’ve got with Nick,” Gardy said. “We know we’ve got a player. And (Alexi Casilla) has all the tools in the world. Nothing’s a given. You have to go out and play. But if we were to start right now I would say Nick would have a head up on him, believe me there. I know what he can do, catch the ball and make all the plays. So he’s got a lead going into spring training, as far as I’m concerned.
“I hope he comes out and has a good spring. I like him in my lineup, somewhere. He makes things exciting. But he’s got to play. Got to come back and rebound, we all know that.”
Gardy said the club will make getting a real third baseman during the offseason is a high priority.
Gardy added that Punto was the best player on the field on Sunday and looks more comfortable at the plate right now. Casilla will get his work in get some starts, but Gardy is going to play Punto.
So get ready for more Nicky P. next year. He was 5 for 10 during the Tigers series and is batting .297 this month.
The Twins have to go 10-3 over their final 13 games to finish at 82-80. What are the odds of that happening?
Casilla is not in the lineup, which suggests he’s still in the doghouse for being tardy to Sunday’s game.
Talked to Jason Kubel before the game. He likes batting in the two hole. It gives him the option to pull the ball through the hole between first and second if Jason Bartlett’s on base, and he figures pitchers will come at him more so they don’t face Mauer with men on base.
Rangers: 1. Catalanotto, DH. 2. Murphy, CF. 3. Young, SS. 4. Byrd, RF. 5. Botts, LF. 6. Wilkerson, 1B. 7. Quiroz, C. 8. Vazquez, 2B. 9. Metcalf, 3B. Pitching: Volquez.
Twins: 1. Bartlett, SS. 2 . Kubel, DH. 3. Mauer, C. 4. Hunter, CF. 5. Morneau, 1B. 6. Cuddyer, RF. 7. Jones, LF. 8. Buscher, 3B. 9. Punto, 2B. Pitching: Slowey.