The picture above is from today at Target Field. Gone is the snow and tarp, and here to stay is the grass which will require cutting throughout 2010. Outdoor baseball is drawing extremely close, and regular season tickets will go on sale to the public this Saturday.
** Joe Nathan has returned to Minneapolis for a tests on his right elbow. After getting one out and walking two this past Saturday, Nathan left with discomfort in his throwing arm. The move was described as precautionary, and the hope is that the discomfort is a normal part of Nathan’s minor off-season surgery.
** Nick Blackburn will be in Minnesota for the next four years after signing an extension Sunday morning. The righty agreed to terms on a 4-year, $14 million contract with a team option for another season at $8 million.
Gone are the Hormel hot dogs, but leaving with them will not be Dollar-A-Dog Night. The Minnesota Twins have announced that Schweigert’s will be the hot dog provider at Target Field this upcoming season, and that Dollar-A-Dog Night will remain but move to Monday nights.
There will be five total Dollar-A-Dog Nights, and the schedule is as follows:
May 3rd – Detroit
June 28th – Detroit
July 19th – Cleveland
September 6th – Kansas City
September 20th – Cleveland
Final note: Word is that the team store, Twins City, has opened for business at Target Field.
Several Minnesota hitters find themselves on pace for career highs, and the culmination of some good offense early on has the team on pace to hit the most homeruns as a club in quite some time.
The projections carry over to the pitchers side where some starters are having career years and where the suddenly sharp bullpen is putting up some solid numbers.
** Francisco Liriano is on pace for a record of just 8-16. He has recently begun to turn things around, so the obvious hope is that the loss total doesn’t reach that point. Liriano is projected to strike out 160 hitters in a total of 178 innings pitched.
** Scott Baker missed some time due to injury, and got off to a slow start which has altered his projections. He hopes to continue his recent string of strong outings, but is currently on pace for a 12-12 record with a total of 148 strikeouts in a career high 184 innings pitched.
** Nick Blackburn is on pace for a solid 3.10 ERA, but due to low run support midway through the season is projected for only a 12-8 record. The second-year pro is however on pace to pitch 4 complete games in an astounding 214 innings.
** Glen Perkins missed nearly a month, but with the exception of a few starts has been solid. The lefty is on pace to go 8-8 with a 4.38 ERA in only 148 innings of work.
** Kevin Slowey is on pace for an amazing 20-6 record in 180 innings of work. Due to two consecutive poor outings, Slowey is on pace for a 4.86 ERA. A few other numbers that stick out are his projections for strikeouts and walks. Slowey is on pace to sit down 150 hitters and walk just 30.
** Anthony Swarzak has only pitched in a few games, but has been recalled and is on pace to go 4-4 with a 3.90 ERA in a total of 54 innings. Time in the bullpen however could alter his projections.
** Joe Nathan is on pace for 42 saves and a solid 1.39 ERA. Considered on of the league’s best, Nathan is also on pace to strike out 82 hitters in only 64 innings of work.
** Matt Guerrier is on pace to rebound from a poor ’08 season with a 2.65 ERA. Guerrier is also projected to to appear in nearly half of the team’s games with 80 appearances. In one of the major stats for relievers, holds, Guerrier is on pace to finish near the top with 32.
** Jose Mijares, a year after posting a sub-1.00 ERA, is on pace for a very solid 2.16 ERA in 58 appearances. The lefty is also on pace to pitch a total of 50 innings and collect 22 holds.
** R.A. Dickey is on pace to post a 2.96 ERA in a total of 50 appearances and 96 innings. The long reliever is also projected to strike out 66 hitters.
No longer with the organization, Luis Ayala was excluded from the list. Phillip Humber, Jesse Crain, and Sean Henn were not included due to their demotions. Meanwhile major leaguers Brian Duensing and Bobby Keppel did not have sufficient stats for accurate projections.