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Continued: Hartman: Plouffe improves in all facets of the game

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 18, 2014 - 1:11 AM

• ESPN NFL analyst Mel Kiper Jr. released his updated draft projections and had Gophers defensive tackle Ra’Shede Hageman going to the Patriots at 29th overall. Kiper wrote that the Patriots would be interested because their interior linemen are getting older and Hageman could bridge that gap. “Hageman is the kind of player this coaching staff could turn into something special, and working in rotation this season, he could provide some immediate impact as well,” Kiper wrote.

• Joe Vavra was the Twins’ hitting coach for eight years before being switched to third base coach last year. “You know what, that’s fun,” Vavra said of coaching third. “When you’re winning, hopefully you’re involved in the game and you have to make some split-second decisions. It’s all in getting the baserunners to do the right things on the bases and do the right things in the right spots and understand how the game flow is going and what needs to be done and in what order and how the game is proceeding along.”

• Twins superstar prospect Byron Buxton, who apparently has a bad wrist injury, won’t pick up a bat until the end of April, unless the young outfielder makes a more rapid recovery.

• Former Twins closer Joe Nathan picked up his second save of the season for the Detroit Tigers on Thursday, pitching a perfect ninth in a 7-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians. Nathan had a rough start to the season, but his ERA is down to 7.94.

• Some clarification of Kevin Love’s contract: The Timberwolves have no option to extend Love until Jan. 25, 2015 — exactly three years after he signed his current contract — and at that time, all they can offer him is a two-year extension. The bigger advantage for the Wolves is if Love decides after next season to opt out of the final year of his contract, they can offer him more years and money than any other team in the NBA — five years instead of four and about $26.5 million more than any other club under the current collective bargaining agreement.

 

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40, 8:40 and 9:20 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

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