Thursday, April 19, 2012

Shaking Pitchers, Series Recap, and Other Notes

Did you know that it was possible for the Twins to win multiple games at Yankee Stadium? During the same year? The same series?

I bet you thought that only happened in video games. But it really happened. Really.

Not only did the Twins exceed expectations with this series, they also made it fun to watch. All the hitting is great. I like a lot of Twins hitting. Keep hitting, Twins. And if you want me to pick which kind of hitting I want, I'll take more of the homeruns, please.

Defense -- solid. I don't care what you say, Jamey Carroll is cool.

Yeah, the starting pitching was pretty shaky, but I liked how Carl Pavano and Jason Marquis outwitted their own demons and figured things out. Now they just need to teach the other starters how to do that. And then they all need to learn how not be shaky in the first place. Baby steps.

And the bullpen was actually pretty good. Although, I think Matt Capps should hand out oxygen masks and defibrillators to fans with every save opportunity.

Is it too soon to believe that the Yankee Stadium gremlins that have bothered the Twins that past decade-plus are finally getting old and weak?

How Do We Fix Liriano?
Francisco Liriano is back at doing his inconsistent pitching thing. In fact, his pitch selection and execution have been so aggravating, we should begin wondering if he's doing this on purpose or something. Is it his mechanics? Is it his head? Is it his arm? Is it the coaching?

We've been asking these questions for years, pretty much ever since he returned from his Tommy John surgery in 2008.

Unfortunately for him, he's on his last chance with the Twins. He's due to be a free agent after this season, and he may wind up sucky-pitching himself out of nice contract.

And, unfortunately for the Twins, there aren't many options to deal with him. They can't really send him to the already full bullpen because they don't really have any other starters to replace him with. I guess they could try to trade him, but frankly, I don't think they'd really get anything valuable for him. And I'm pretty sure they've already tried all they can to fix him.

He just makes me want to walk up to him, grab his shoulders, and shake him. Then flick him on the forehead.

Injury Updates
So, after Scott Baker assured everyone that the surgery he was having on his flexor tendon had nothing to with his ulnar collateral ligament, he wound up having to have that ligament replaced after other words, he indeed needed Tommy John surgery.

It turns out that Tommy John surgery was kind of always a possibility. If it hadn't been, the doctor and his team would have performed the flexor tendon procedure arthroscopically. However, they did a full-on, cut him open operation in case they found a surprise in there, which they did.

I'm not so annoyed with the misdiagnosis. It happens. As great as MRIs are for visualizing tissue structures, they are still only pictures. Sure, there are ways to render the images to make things easier to see, but they're still only pictures. If the ligament damage was hiding, it's not like the doctor can go inside the picture and move things around to get a better look; he actually has to go inside the patient and move things around.

No, the misdiagnosis isn't so bothersome. It's the fact that no one seemed to take this injury too seriously for two years now. Especially lately. As Baker was pitching a rehab game during Spring Training, Rick Anderson and Gardy were calling him out telling him he should "air it out" more.

It's particularly bad timing for Baker because of his whole contract status. The Twins have that $12.5 million option on him for 2013, and that's way too much money for him. So, he'll hit free agency while still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. Not exactly a recipe for a fat contract.

In other injury news, Glen Perkins missed a couple of games with a sore arm, but he seems to be fine now. Also, Nick Blackburn missed a start with a sore arm, but he's hopeful to make his next one.

Roster Moves
It's great news that Jason Marquis's daughter is getting better. So Marquis was able to finally join the Twins and make his first start. He had been pitching at AA, so they technically had to call him up.

In order to make room on the 25-man roster, the Twins designated Luke Hughes for assignment. Since Hughes is out of minor-league options, they have to pass him through waivers if they want to send him to AAA. They may also release or trade him. They have 10 days to decide.

I feel really bad for Luke. When Spring Training broke, he tweeted how happy he was that, after 10 years, he finally landed on a big league Opening Day roster. Now in the last few days, he's tweeted how surprising and strange this whole thing is. I hope he lands somewhere and has a great season.

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