Twins need improved health

  • Updated: March 30, 2012 - 2:48 PM
The Twins used the disabled list 27 times last year for 16 different players, but every season doesn't have to be that way.

In 2010, they used the DL 18 times for 13 players. In 2009, it was 12 times for 11 players.

Of course, it all depends on which players go down. Last year, Scott Baker was the Twins' most effective starting pitcher. His 2.86 ERA last July 28 ranked eighth in the American League, but an elbow injury limited him to two more starts.

Francisco Liriano, Minnesota's best starter in 2010, made two trips to the DL last year because of left shoulder issues.

Denard Span, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau each missed at least 80 games. Take the leadoff, No. 3 and cleanup hitters from any team for that long, and it is bound to nosedive.

Will 2012 bring more of the same injury problems? There's no doubt, this team looks fragile. Baker's elbow already was an issue this spring, and Joel Zumaya barely set foot on the mound before he needed Tommy John surgery. Mauer looks like his younger self, but Morneau admits another bout with concussion symptoms could send him toward retirement.

Baker and Liriano -- so important to this team's success -- have combined for one 200-inning season in their careers. That came from Baker, in 2009.

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