By La Velle
It’s only batting practice in February but Joe Mauer looks good.
Watched him go deep a couple times against a coach during batting practice, which should happen. But then Joe Nathan got on the mound and Mauer took one of his first pitches over the left field wall for an opposite-field homer, drawing hoots and hollers from the players around the cage.
Nathan threw another another pitch and yelled, “Stop!” as it crossed the plate….
Jesse Crain, coming back from shoulder surgery, threw well in his first encounter with hitters since May. He threw all his pitches and was around the plate. Mike Redmond remarked that Crain looked, “free and easy.”
A bunch of minor leaguers worked on a back field. Toby Gardenhire and Trevor Plouffe showed off their fielding talents.
Got a chance to get some interesting updates on a few players who were on the same field.
Erik Lis – slipped and injured his throwing shoulder during the winter and is not throwing well enough yet. He may play some first base when the season starts but will end up in the outfield.
Dustin Martin – the Twins found out a few days after Martin came over in the Luis Castillo trade that he had a herniated disk in his back. Martin, an outfielder, is doing much better now and, by the way, boy is he put together.
Drew Thompson – this is an important year for him. Thompson, a second baseman, fractured his back in 2006 and missed all of last season with back problems. I was told that he either learns how to play with the condition he has or he faces career-ending surgery. But he was on the field Sunday taking grounders with the other early arrivals.