Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Morning Tidbits

The Twins got their homestand off to a good start against the AL Central leading White Sox. An outstanding performance from Francisco Liriano was more than enough to lead the Twins to the victory. It was a milestone win for the Twins franchise in their new home as it was the team's 100th victory at Target Field. In that time span, the team is only a couple games over .500 so it would be nice to get that winning percentage a little higher.

It's another Tuesday so that means I will be covering all of the minor league action for the Twins later tonight. Check back as I cover all the games from the International League to the Gulf Coast League. But for now, enjoy these tidbits on a Tuesday morning.

Thome mulling return for 2013
After a dramatic pinch hit walk-off home run over the weekend, it seems like Jim Thome might be ageless. Following the game, he discussed the possibility that the 2012 season would not be his last and that he has been thinking about coming back for 2013. He will turn 42-years old in August and that means that during next season he would turn 43. This isn't exactly the optimal age for a big league player but there could be a role for the aging star.

Thome has spent the majority of his career in the American League where he has the ability to be the designated hitter if that is what his team asks from him. He spent most of the last two seasons by hitting blasts for the Twins but he wants a title before he retires and gets ready for his Hall of Fame induction. This brought him to the Phillies and the National League for 2012. So far the experiment has not gone perfectly but he has looked very good in interleague play when he could be the DH.

For Thome to come back in 2013, there will need to be a team that has at-bats for him in the American League at the designated hitter spot. He will also want to be on a team that has a chance to contend so he has the opportunity for a championship. This means there will only be a few teams that will reasonably have a shot at Thome but it would be nice to see him end his career with a title.

Robertson travels the worn road from Rochester
With Matt Capps shoulder injury flaring up, the Twins need to find a replacement for him on the 25-man roster. With Brian Duensing inserted into the rotation and Glen Perkins sharing time in the closer role, a left-handed relief pitcher was going to be key. Tyler Robertson made the trip from Rochester join the Minnesota Twins and his first appearance will mark his major league debut.

Robertson is the tenth player to be called up from Rochester so far this season and the third to make his debut. Shortstop Brian Dozier and pitcher Cole DeVries already made their debuts in 2012. The other players to be promoted this year include catcher Drew Butera, pitcher Scott Diamond, pitcher Liam Hendriks, outfielder Darin Mastroianni, first baseman Chris Parmelee, outfielder Ben Revere, and pitcher P.J. Walters. 

Unfortunately for some, the road has gone both ways. Third baseman Danny Valencia and infielder Sean Burroughs started the season with the Twins but have been sent to Rochester. Clete Thomas and Lester Oliveros got into a few games for the Twins before being sent to Triple-A. It is nice to see that most of the positional players have been moved because of performance and not because of injury like in 2011.

Buxton debuts in the Gulf Coast League 
The Twins gave their top draft pick a couple of days to acclimate to life as a professional before he made his debut for the GCL Twins on Friday. It has not been a perfect start for the 18-year old as he has failed to get a hit in any of his appearances thus far. He has been penciled in as the lead-off hitter for all of his games so it looks like the Twins want him to get as many plate appearances as possible. It also helps that he has blazing fast speed at the top of the order and he has been clocked at 4.15 seconds from home to first on a groundout.

In his first two games in the GCL, Buxton faced pitchers with at least some professional experience. At minimum, the pitchers he stepped in against had thrown in the Dominican Summer League and some of the hurlers had already made one trip through the GCL. So it's safe to say that Buxton isn't facing rural Georgia pitching any more and it might take a little bit for him to adjust this new level of competition. 

Tropical storm Debbie has caused the GCL Twins to miss at least yesterday's game so hopefully Buxton will be able to get back on the field. This way he can get the first of many hits out of the way and be on the way to a great career. There were some fans declaring him a bust after his first game where he went hitless but it is way to early to know how good Buxton can or cannot be. He is still one of the top prospects in the entire organization.

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