Mike Berardino / St. Paul Pioneer Press
FORT MYERS, Fla.—Tuesday, March 20, will mark six weeks since Ervin Santana's surgery on his right middle finger, but he has yet to resume gripping a baseball, much less throwing one. "It's just exercise right now," Santana, the Twins' top starter the past three seasons, said Sunday morning, March 18. "We just take it one day at a time. The good thing is each day we see progress."
FORT MYERS, Fla.—Just 11 days before opening one of their most promising seasons in recent memory, the Twins were rocked Sunday afternoon, March 18, by a bombshell involving starting shortstop Jorge Polanco. Major League Baseball announced an 80-game suspension without pay for Polanco after he tested positive for Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing steroid. Polanco, 24, was among the game's most productive shortstops over the final two months in 2017.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — You don't need an advanced degree in dot connection to recognize the strong relationship between the Twins' decision makers and Eric Cressey, certified strength and conditioning specialist and proprietor of Cressey Sports Performance.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Hard work transformed Kennys Vargas from an undrafted free agent out of Puerto Rico in 2009 to one of the most popular Twins players since he broke in four years ago.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — As closure goes, it's hard to imagine a better scenario than what Jake Mauer experienced here this week. Back in town for a weeklong visit with his wife and three young children, the longtime Twins minor-league manager had a chance to say his goodbyes as he strolled the grounds in civilian clothes. There were games to watch, both at Hammond Stadium and on the back fields.
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — In his four full seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, Jake Odorizzi had a dugout-level seat for Opening Day starts by David Price (2014) and, the past three seasons, Chris Archer. The opportunity to kick off this Twins' season on March 29 in Baltimore, an increasingly likely (if still unofficial) scenario, carries great appeal for the right-hander.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — While Lance Lynn said former St. Louis Cardinals teammate Zach Duke was among the Twins he reached out to before choosing his new team, the veteran reliever refused to take credit for helping to land Lynn on a one-year, $12 million deal. "I'm not a recruiter," Duke said. "I don't have any skills in that area." Nor did the Twins' front office, Duke said, solicit his opinions on how Lynn might fit into the clubhouse "That wasn't a conversation we had," he said.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Minnesota Twins catcher Willians Astudillo had no idea Wednesday morning he had become an internet sensation, his handiwork being trumpeted everywhere from ESPN to MLB Network to Twitter. Same for first baseman Kennys Vargas, whose alertness and sweep tag made the unlikeliest of plays — a no-look pickoff throw — work Monday night in an exhibition game against the New York Yankees in Tampa.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — On his first day with the Twins, veteran right-hander Lance Lynn was asked about the risk he was taking in turning down multiyear security to pitch on a one-year, $12 million deal in 2018. "I don't think I'm taking a risk at all," Lynn said. "I get a chance to play in the big leagues against the best players in the world. Whether it's one year or multiple years, you still have to do your job. If I do what I've done my whole career, I'll be fine and if I don't then I didn't deserve anything that goes beyond this year, anyways."
FORT MYERS, Fla. — After making three major additions since the start of spring training and pushing their projected Opening Day payroll close to a club-record $128 million, it's fair to wonder whether the Twins already have spent whatever discretionary funds they might have had for the July 31 trade deadline. "We'll evaluate that when we get a lot closer," Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said Tuesday, March 13. "I can tell you this: I know (club owner) Jim Pohlad is committed to this team and committed to winning because he just proved it."