Twins-Orioles: Pregame

Posted on August 25th, 2009 – 3:10 PM
By La Velle

At the Dome watching Justin Morneau work on power hitting drills. He’s out on the field with hitting coach Joe Vavra, hitting a ball off a tee.

The key to the drill is to focus on the bottom half of the baseball. Hitting that part causes backspin. And backspin helps the ball carry farther. The Twins started using the drill about 7-8 years ago in the minor leagues. They began a power development program that Morneau and others went through. Doing this drill on a baseball field and not in a cage allows Morneau to see how the ball travels.

Morneau is driving balls all over the Dome. Few are clearing the fence or baggy, but that’s not the goal of the drill. At game speed, the balls will travel 400-plus feet.

After hitting was seems like 75-80 balls, Morneau is in the outfield picking up the balls he hit. How many former MVP’s do that?

I’m guessing you have seen the news regarding Johan Santana . Fortunately, it’s just a bone chip issue.

Buster Olney went off today about how health concerns about Santana forced the Red Sox and Yankees to back away from dealing for him during the 2007-2008 offseason. Santana does not have a physique like most so-called, `horses,’ and I know the Twins wondered if Santana would eventually break down. Santana left everything on the field. I talked to Santana two days after the end of the 2007 season as he cleaned out his locker. He bent over to pick something off the ground and groaned like a Rhino who had just been shot. He said his back, legs and arm were killing him.

It’s not surprising to hear that the beasts of the AL East felt that way. I also know that Boston was very reluctant to sign Santana to a deal like the one he got from the Mets. I also know that Boston would have been more interested in Santana if the Yankees hadn’t backed away. The whole trade landscape fell apart when the Yankees backed away during the winter meetings that year. The Mets became the only real option.

Will check back later with updates and lineups.

Update: Joe Crede had an MRI on his back today because it’s taking longer than normal for it to come around. He’s expected to consult with Twins docs during the game, so there should be an update after the game.

Francisco Liriano had an MRI on his elbow. According to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, the elbow looked great. So the next step is to schedule a day for Liriano to play catch and start building up to a bullpen session.

Boof Bonser has been cleared to face hitters down in Florida. So now it’s a matter of him building up enough arm strength to go out on a minor league rehab assignment.

Speaking of minor leaguers, here are the ones headed to the Arizona Fall League: Righthanders Mike McCardell, Alex Burnett and Steven Hirschfeld, lefthander Spencer Steedley, outfielder/first baseman Chris Parmelee, infielder Steven Singleton and outfiedler Rene Tosoni.

Zach Parise and some of his hockey alums from Shattuckland took early batting practice and shagged fly balls.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was bummed out to hear that Johan Santana is out for the year with bone chip problems. “If you can’t root for Johan Santana you can’t root for anyone,” Gardenhire said. Someone else pointed out to me that Santana might not be out of the woods after surgery. Removing the chips allows for more range of motion but that range of motion could lead to ligament problems. Next spring should be real interesting in Metsland – when is it ever not interesting over there.

Lineups

O’s (51-74)

1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Felix Pie, CF
3. Nolan Reimold, DH
4. Nick Markakis, RF
5. Luke Scott, LF
6. Matt Wieters, C
7. Melvin Mora, 3B
8. Michael Aubrey, 1B
9. Cesar Izturis, SS

Pitching: Brian Matusz, LHP

Twins (62-63)

1. Denard Span, LF
2. Orlando Cabrera, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Michael Cuddyer, RF
6. Brendan Harris. 3B
7. Delmon Young, DH
8. Carlos Gomez, CF
9. Alexi Casilla. 2B

Pitching: Armando Gabino, RHP  

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