Hartman: Treeless batter's eye hasn't helped Twins

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 18, 2011 - 11:09 PM

Twins batters wanted the removal of the spruces from center field, but so far it hasn't appeared to help them any.

Twins President Dave St. Peter was very reluctant to remove the beautiful trees beyond the center-field fence at Target Field, but he had to do so to please Twins players who claimed the trees made it difficult to hit.

Hitters also wanted the Twins to move in the fences, but St. Peter was not going to change the dimensions of the ballpark. Moving in the fences would have had a negative effect on the Twins pitching staff as well.

Well, it might not have anything to do with the removal of the 14 spruce trees growing back there, but for the first 15 home games the new batter's eye has not done any good for the Twins batters. Of the key Twins from 2010 and '11, only Jason Kubel and Jim Thome have shown an increase in average compared to the first 15 home games of 2010. All the other key hitters have gone down. And Thome's numbers aren't really reflective of his contribution since he has been hurt.

And the Twins' 15-game home record is also a disaster, as they opened 10-5 at Target Field in 2010 but are 4-11 this season.

Kubel struggled at .188 (6-for-33) through the first 15 games at Target Field last year, while this year he is hitting .310 (18-for-58). Thome hit only .214 in the first 15 home games last year, in which he played 10 games. This year, he is hitting .278 with five RBI but has played in only five games.

Justin Morneau, whom I believe is playing daily despite being more injured than some of the Twins players on the disabled list, is not doing that badly at home this year, hitting .281 and seven RBI, having picked it up lately. Last year, he got off to a terrific start at .360 with eight RBI.

Michael Cuddyer is hitting .255 at home with two home runs and five RBI. Last year through 15 games, he was hitting .281 with five home runs and 17 RBI.

Denard Span is hitting .302 at home with one RBI this year compared to .339 with eight RBI in 2010.

Joe Mauer, whom some people in the Twins organization expect to sit out for some time even though the catcher is rehabilitating in Florida, played in nine of the 15 games last year because of a bruised left heel, hitting .313. This year, he has played in only four games at home, batting .250.

And Delmon Young, who came off the disabled list last week, has hit .226 with three RBI at home, having played in eight of 15 games. Last year, he played in 13 of the first 15 games, batting .263 with five RBI.

Check the total of the seven players, and you find that they had eight home runs, 53 RBI and 46 runs through 15 home games last year. This year, the totals are four home runs, 32 RBI and 24 runs.

True, you can blame the injuries, with Young, Mauer and Thome all having been on the disabled list. And as a group, the seven players are only hitting 10 points lower at home this year (.279) than they did at this point last year (.289).

But they aren't scoring runs, aren't hitting with runners in scoring position, aren't hitting home runs and are often even struggling just to get on base. Yes, changing the batter's eye has not been the solution for the Twins' star players at home.


• Apparently, according to Timberwolves officials, Target Corp. hasn't made a decision yet whether it will continue to hold the naming rights on Target Center when its contract runs out at the end of September. The Wolves have 14 years left on their lease with the city and would prefer a 14-year naming rights contract. There had been rumors that Sanford Health of Sioux Falls, S.D., which has a one-year contract for a billboard on the side of the building, would be a candidate, but apparently that's not the case. Life Time Fitness, which has a health club in the arena, is reported to be one of the leading candidates if Target doesn't renew. The Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal reported that the present agreement called for $18.75 million over 15 years, and also that the Wild is being paid $3 million a year by Xcel Energy for naming rights to the St. Paul hockey arena.

• Before deciding to withdraw from the NBA draft, Gophers junior center Ralph Sampson III worked out at camps in Chicago and New Jersey. It was Sampson's uncle who called Gophers coach Tubby Smith with the news that Sampson decided to remain in school and play college basketball this season. ... Bemidji State and Augustana (S.D.), both of the NCAA Division III Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, will be the two exhibition foes for the Gophers this fall at Williams Arena. Bucknell, a team that lost 81-52 to eventual champion Connecticut in the first round of the NCAA tournament but won 23 of 25 games before that, will open the regular season against the Gophers Nov. 11.

• The Gophers baseball team played its last game ever in Siebert Field on Tuesday, beating North Dakota State 8-5. Coach John Anderson said that the University of Minnesota officials in charge of facilities would have never allowed a game to be played at the field had the officials checked it. Anderson has scheduled 36 games at the Metrodome for next year, including the annual Dairy Queen Classic that will include Nebraska, New Mexico State and West Virginia. The Gophers also will play Nebraska at home in 2012 as a conference foe. This year's team can clinch a Big Ten playoff spot by winning one game over Ohio State at Target Field this weekend.

• Gophers wrestler Dylan Ness, the younger brother of former Gophers NCAA champion Jayson Ness, qualified at 145.5 pounds for the U.S. Senior World Team Trials June 10-11 in Oklahoma City.

• The Houston Chronicle reported last week that Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey narrowed his candidates for the team's head coaching position to three: former Wolves coach and VP Kevin McHale, former Wolves coach Dwane Casey and former Nets coach Lawrence Frank. After being fired by McHale in 2007, Casey left the NBA to travel overseas and study European techniques, rejoining an NBA team in 2008 with the Dallas Mavericks as their top assistant under coach Rick Carlisle. The Mavs are now playing Oklahoma City in the Western Conference finals. It was also reported by ESPN's Marc Stein last week that the Golden State Warriors are looking at Casey for their coaching vacancy. McHale has been working as a television analyst but hasn't coached since finishing up with the Wolves at the end of the 2008-09 season.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Minnesota 35 FINAL
Miami 37
Baltimore 13 FINAL
Houston 25
Detroit 20 FINAL
Chicago 14
Cleveland 13 FINAL
Carolina 17
Atlanta 30 FINAL
New Orleans 14
Green Bay 20 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Kansas City 12 FINAL
Pittsburgh 20
New England 17 FINAL
NY Jets 16
NY Giants 37 FINAL
St. Louis 27
Buffalo 24 FINAL
Oakland 26
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Dallas 42
Seattle 35 FINAL
Arizona 6
Denver 7:30 PM
New York 108 FINAL
Toronto 118
Memphis 91 FINAL
Cleveland 105
Boston 84 FINAL
Miami 100
Detroit 105 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
LA Lakers 101 FINAL
Sacramento 108
Philadelphia 96 FINAL
Orlando 88
Phoenix 104 FINAL
Washington 92
Indiana 100 FINAL
Minnesota 96
New Orleans 101 FINAL
Oklahoma City 99
Colorado 2 FINAL(SO)
Detroit 1
Dallas 6 FINAL(SO)
Edmonton 5
Buffalo 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 4
Carolina 0 FINAL
NY Rangers 1
Toronto 0 FINAL
Chicago 4
Philadelphia 4 FINAL(OT)
Winnipeg 3
Harvard 27 FINAL
Virginia 76
Maine 69 FINAL
Army 72
Ferris State 82 FINAL
Bowling Green 68
San Francisco 65 FINAL
Cleveland State 69
Oregon State 52 FINAL
Quinnipiac 60
Coastal Carolina 72 FINAL
Central Arkansas 55
Holy Cross 48 FINAL
Canisius 67
Southern Miss 55 FINAL
Georgia State 68
Western Carolina 66 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 62
Creighton 58 FINAL
North Texas 62
Maryland 73 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
Cornell 61 FINAL
Radford 74
Vermont 55 FINAL
Saint Louis 58
Loyola-Maryland 52 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Reinhardt 72 FINAL
Winthrop 100
Ark-Little Rock 46 FINAL
Green Bay 66
TX-Pan American 72 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 77
Alabama State 63 FINAL
Evansville 81
Hartford 82
Goshen 55 FINAL
Valparaiso 82
Bryant 48 FINAL
Denver 46
Austin Peay 63 FINAL
Lipscomb 69
Tennessee St 47 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 65
South Dakota 67 FINAL
Montana 62
Samford 64
Coker 52 FINAL
South Carolina 78
Boston College 71
Northern Ariz 66 FINAL
Hampton 75
SD Christian 61 FINAL
San Diego 71
UC Irvine 55 FINAL
Bradley 47
Troy 65 FINAL
Nicholls 64
Seton Hall 47 FINAL
Georgia 65
Appalachian St 59 FINAL
Alabama 60
North Dakota St 52 FINAL
Kent State 53
San Jose St 53 FINAL
Washington St 82
Alcorn State 45 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 78
Sacramento St 47 FINAL
Seattle 66
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 1:00 PM
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 55 FINAL
Denver 63
St Marys-CA 52 FINAL
George Washington 70
TX-San Antonio 49 FINAL
Nicholls 57
Portland State 71 FINAL
Columbia 66
Tenn Tech 62 FINAL
Morgan State 56
Auburn 56
Quinnipiac 70 FINAL
Hartford 58
Hofstra 75 FINAL
Boston College 61
Eastern Washington 55 FINAL
Georgia Southern 42
Liberty 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 84
Fairleigh Dickinson 74 FINAL
Brown 79
Buffalo 73 FINAL
Long Island 79
Bucknell 74 FINAL
Mount St Marys 49
Stony Brook 70 FINAL
Wagner 76
Wofford 75
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Providence 67
Maine 54 FINAL
William & Mary 51
Alabama State 43 FINAL
Samford 56
TX-Pan American 43 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 64
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
Marist 82
Saint Josephs 50 FINAL
(5) Notre Dame 64
Radford 60 FINAL
Virginia Tech 73
(3) Texas 67 FINAL
(4) Texas A&M 65
Rhode Island 60 FINAL
Bryant 56
South Florida 90 FINAL
Penn State 87
Sam Houston St 55 FINAL
TCU 79
Evansville 50 FINAL
(14) Maryland 110 FINAL
Coppin State 51
Mercer 59 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 72
Chattanooga 58
Princeton 84 FINAL
Monmouth 53
Eastern Illinois 69 FINAL
Lehigh 72
Rider 67 FINAL
Binghamton 72
SC State 57 FINAL
Clemson 66
Fairfield 63 FINAL
Iowa State 76
Richmond 70 FINAL
Eastern Kentucky 56
Cleveland State 80 FINAL
Morehead St 72
Kent State 62 FINAL
Colgate 61
South Alabama 43 FINAL
UAB 73
Saint Peters 35 FINAL
Navy 71
Youngstown St 52 FINAL
Pittsburgh 78
Lafayette 66
Davidson 51 FINAL
Charlotte 86
Indiana State 73 FINAL
St Johns 67
Southern U 49 FINAL
Florida 78
Wright State 46 FINAL
Purdue 70
(19) Oklahoma St 66 FINAL
USC 62
Houston 54 FINAL
Texas Tech 60
Ark-Little Rock 66 FINAL
Tulsa 59
Dayton 71 FINAL
Vanderbilt 67
Northern Ariz 37 FINAL
New Mexico 56
UNC-Asheville 60 FINAL
USC Upstate 67
North Dakota 81 FINAL
South Dakota 86
Western Ill 57 FINAL
Marquette 65
Elon 67 FINAL
(6) North Carolina 85
Ball State 59 FINAL
Western Ky 84
(8) Kentucky 68 FINAL
(13) Duke 89
New Orleans 58 FINAL
Alabama 87
Chicago State 47 FINAL
Milwaukee 69
Bowling Green 61 FINAL
Bradley 47
Ill-Springfield 56 FINAL
SE Missouri St 73
Northern Ill 42 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
(23) Iowa 100 FINAL
Drake 98
Central Michigan 64 FINAL
Minnesota 67
Western Carolina 45 FINAL
North Florida 62
Wyoming 71 FINAL
Colorado 76
Portland 58 FINAL
Boise State 94
Cal Poly 63 FINAL
Colorado State 65
No Dakota State 54 FINAL
Grand Canyon 69
Albany 71 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 49
Oklahoma 64 FINAL
Arkansas 71
Idaho State 63 FINAL
Seattle 55
(18) Michigan State 89 FINAL
(19) Syracuse 76
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Arizona State 88
TX-Arlington 46 FINAL
North Texas 38
Fresno State 68 FINAL
Oregon 59
St Francis-PA 75 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 72
CS-Bakersfield 74
(2) Connecticut 86
(10) Louisville 70 FINAL
(24) California 57
Howard 53 FINAL
Virginia 74
Miami-Ohio 42 FINAL
(21) Miss State 68
Illinois-Chicago 55 FINAL
Old Dominion 61
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Do you like the Ervin Santana signing by the Twins?

Weekly Question