It may not feel close, but with each passing game, the end of an era in Twins Baseball draws near. The Minnesota Twins have 34 games remaining this season, and 17 will come under the roof.
Entering their three-game series with the Texas Rangers, the Minnesota Twins find themselves one game below .500 with 35 games remaining on the regular season schedule. After acquiring shortstop Orlando Cabrera at the non-waiver trade deadline, the Twins have decided to attempt to bolster their roster for the final month.
Ben Tootle: My favorite team is the Atlanta Braves, and my favorite player has always been John Smoltz.
BT: Being ranked is neat, but it really didn’t mean too much to me because it’s basically just someone’s opinion or projection. I try not to think about what others think I am or could be, I just like to play.
BT: I talked with scouts the entire year, but they told me many different things. The draft is so crazy that it’s hard to tell when you will actually go.
BT: I was at my apartment in Jacksonville, AL with my parents. It was basically a big relief that it was over and I’d be taking the next step in my career.
BT: The drafting and signing process isn’t something I enjoyed, honestly. I’m happiest when I’m actually on the field. The process in between just gets me to that point and you have to do it.
BT: My initial impression was that there is such a variety of cultures and different people from different parts of the world who are talented and come together to play on one team.
BT: My goal for Elizabethton is to get adjusted to pro ball life and get better. My off-season goal is to get stronger and work on my skills.
BT: My greatest baseball achievement I think is my summer in the Cape Cod league. All my drills, bullpens, long toss and conditioning paid off and everything came together for me to put forward a great summer for myself.
BT: My parents have supported me my entire life and were very supportive during the whole draft and signing period, so they had the biggest impact. Coach Case at Jacksonville State definitely helped me a lot, believing in me during my three years at Jacksonville, so he also had a huge impact in getting me to where I wanted to go.
BT: Making a major league debut for me would be a dream come true because it’s what every player wants to achieve. I would not take it for granted and would soak up the entire experience to remember every detail.
Matthew Bashore: Growing up in Ohio my favorite team was the Indians and my favorite players were Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Kenny Lofton, and Sandy Alomar Jr.
MB: A current player that I am most like would be Andy Petite. I think he was my dad’s favorite pitcher and my dad taught me to pitch after him.
MB: The college experience was great for me because it taught me so many things. It helped me grow up and learn to be on my own.
MB: Yeah, I had talked to scouts and I went around where they seemed to say I would.
MB: When I got drafted I was watching it on the computer at my parents house with my family and girlfriend. It was funny because some teams were outspoken about what they thought of me and showed interest. The Twins were very quite about it with me. So when it was their turn to pick and they selected me, I was already looking ahead to see who I thought maybe would pick me.
MB: My initial impressions of pro ball are great, I enjoy the freedoms that come with pro ball compared to college ball. It’s hard to complain or have a bad impression when your getting paid to play baseball.
MB: I feel that my biggest strength is my mental strength. I am always composed and can always relax myself. I feel that I can push myself harder and further than others. The biggest thing that I look to improve on would be getting a good change-up. When I get a grasp for that pitch I will become a more complete pitcher.
MB: Throughout my baseball career my favorite baseball moment would be in legion ball when I was in high school. I had pitched a good ten inning game and I was being DH’d for until the bottom of the tenth. We were down by two and the coach let me hit for myself with the bases loaded. I hit a ball which I thought was gone so I was jogging a little to first. It hit the wall so I started running hard. I tried to stretch it into a triple and the ball kicked away into the dugout. So I then got home for what I call a walk off grand slam.
MB: The one person who has helped me the most would be my father. He has put so much time and energy into helping me with the game and I wouldn’t be the player or person I am without him.
MB: To make a major league start with the Twins would be an amazing feeling. I have a lot of hard work to get there but that thought helps me push myself each and everyday.
While Justin Morneau has put himself on pace for career numbers and Joe Mauer has put himself on pace for historical numbers, the third wheel in the Minnesota Twins’ left-handed combination has been widely overlooked.
Kyle Gibson: Growing up my favorite team was the Reds. But I have a buddy, Jake Fox, who is now with the Cubs and ever since they drafted him they have been my favorite team.
KG: Other than the difference in velocity, I feel I’m most like Justin Verlander. A tall, skinny guy who just allows his body to work with his arm.
KG: To get that type of recognition is awesome! God has blessed me with the talents that I have and parents that really care about me, so that helps as well. Without them I would not have been able to get as far as I have.
KG: I was in my front yard watching it on TV with a bunch of friends and family, and it was a great feeling!
KG: The process has been very protocol for a first round pick. There was a long time where nothing got done because we were waiting on my arm to heal. But now the negotiations are working and going pretty good.
KG: My arm feels great. I have been throwing for about two and a half weeks and it feels awesome! It was a crazy five days once I found out, but everything worked out for a reason. We believe the cause of the stress fracture was just throwing while tired and not getting enough rest and recovery.
KG: It is true that I was going to take 6-8 weeks off anyways. I had thrown five or six complete games and heard somewhere that I averaged 110 pitches per start. That is including a start of 45 pitches at Oklahoma State and a start of 70 in the Big 12 tourney. So my arm had a long year and it needed some rest! As for my return, I should be as healthy and as strong as before. My forearm should actually be stronger than it was before because that is just the trend with stress fractures. My arm feels really fresh right now so I should have all the velocity, and the change up has felt as good as ever this early in my return so that is good as well.
KG: My biggest strength is probably the fact that I can throw all three of my pitches for strikes in any count. I pride myself on that and not walking guys. My biggest thing I need to work on would probably be making sure my stuff is as good from the stretch as it is from the wind up. I got much better at that this year but still need to work on that.
KG: My main goal for this fall is to get back into the swing of things on the mound and get my comfort level back after taking time off. I also want to make a good impression in my first couple months as a Twin.
KG: I think my favorite baseball moment is a three way tie. My senior year I was one strike away from back-to-back no hitters in the post season! Then two of them from this year are the fact that I was able to throw a complete game in five of my first six Big 12 games with all of them being against teams ranked in the top 25 at that time; that was a blast. The favorite being against number one Texas. Then the last one was this year as well. Being able to throw 15 innings to end the year without giving up a run, and doing it all with a stress fracture and not knowing it! That was fun and it was challenging at the same time.
KG: I would say my dad is the biggest person who has helped through the years. He has been able to help me in every way I have needed and it has been great to have a family like mine who can back me all the way.
KG: I get really excited to think about my major league debut and I think it will be an absolute blast to do it with the Twins! I hope that I can get up there as soon as possible and help contribute wherever I can.
KG: Right now I am not sure how confident I am. That is an issue that will be figured out on Monday.
|August 11th vs. Royals|
|The Game: The Royals will send righty Kyle Davies (3-8, 6.37) and the Twins will counter with second-year pro, Nick Blackburn (8-6, 3.79).|
|The Tickets: It’s a presented by My29, and you can sit in the Homerun Porch (a $21 ticket) for just $10.50.|
|The Highlight: If you’re going to spend time at the concession stand, you might as well be full doing it. For a $34 ticket, you’ll get not only entry to the game, but you’ll also enjoy all the hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, peanuts, pretzels, fountain pop, and water you can handle.|
|August 12th vs. Royals|
|The Game: Brian Bannister (7-8, 3.78) will take on Francisco Liriano (4-11, 5.63).|
|The Tickets: All students with a valid student ID can purchase a Cheap Seats ticket for only $4.|
|The Highlight: It’s another and all fans (limit two) can buy hot dogs for just $1.|
|August 13th vs. Royals|
|The Game: In a daytime matchup, Gil Meche (4-9, 4.50) will return from the disabled list to take on either Anthony Swarzak or Brian Duensing.|
|The Tickets: Presented by KQRS FM, with the purchase of a Homerun Porch Ticket or $5 off a Lower Reserved Ticket, fans will receive a free Dome Dog and soft drink.|
|The Highlight: All kids 14 years under will receive a presented by Lerner Publishing.|
|August 14th vs. Indians|
|The Game: The newly acquired Justin Masterson (3-3, 4.42) will throw between 75 and 80 pitches against Carl Pavano (10-8, 5.09) who will make his second start as a Twin against the team that recently traded him away.|
|The Promotion: It’s a , and with the purchase of a Homerun Porch ticket, fans will receive a coupon for a free half-gallon of milk or orange juice from Land O’ Lakes redeemable at a Cub Foods location.|
|The Giveaway: The first 10,000 fans receive a courtesy of MLB2K9.|
|August 15th vs. Indians|
|The Game: David Huff (6-6, 6.72) will take on a Twins team that has given him a 10.24 ERA this season. The Twins will likely counter with Scott Baker in the 3:10 CT game.|
|The Highlight: For $37, fans will get a pass to the presented by Fox Sports North. The pass includes entry to the barbeque, a Twins cap, and autographs from Twins’ alumni.|
|The Giveaway: The first 5,000 fans 18 and older will receive a courtesy of Spire.|
|August 16th vs. Indians|
|The Game: The Indians pitcher is to be determined, but in the 1:10 CT matchup, the Twins will likely send Nick Blackburn to the hill.|
|The Promotion: It’s , and two kids 14 and under will receive free admission with the purchase of an adult ticket in the Homerun Porch or Cheap Seats.|
|Ride a Bike: All fans who , will be able to park their bike for free in a secure bike corral and will receive $5 off a lower reserved or upper club ticket.|
While Minnesota Twins’ outfielder Denard Span has found his spot in the team’s lineup as the leadoff hitter, his true position in the team’s outfield has remained a question in his first full season as a major league player.