Jim Souhan analyzes the local sports scene and advises you to never take his betting advice. He likes old guitars and old music, never eats press box hot dogs, and can be heard on 1500ESPN at 2:05 p.m. weekdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.-noon.

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Catch-up time

Posted by: Jim Souhan under All-Stars and honors, Professional baseball, Ron Gardenhire, Target Field, Twins fans, Twins management, Twins offense, Twins transactions, Wolves coaches, Vikings, Vikings coaches, Vikings defense, Vikings fans, Vikings management, Vikings quarterbacks Updated: August 18, 2011 - 9:13 PM

Haven't posted much lately, been switching out laptops while having mine serviced.

Let's catch up:

-A Twins official told me Donovan McNabb is at Target Field tonight. I haven't seen him myself but have gotten confirmation. I'm told he's a big baseball fan.

-Really wishing Jim Thome had hit his 600th home run at Target Field. When the Twins went in the tank this season, I know the front office was desperately hoping Thome would give the fans that to look forward to.

But as I wrote the other day (http://tinyurl.com/3ufpwz2), the setting was almost fitting.

-Joe Mauer in rightfield? I like it. The guy has looked natural at first base and in the outfield with very little preparation. This is a big development for the Twins, because they can't allow him to catch if he's going to constantly miss games or complain about taking a beating at the position. They need the ability to say, `OK, you're sore today? You're in rightfield.' ''

-Tsuyoshi Nishioka is in contention for becoming the worst major league baseball player I've ever seen. He's Butch Huskey with speed.

-Andruw Jones smashed a homer off Brian Duensing on Thursday night, but it was sad to see him round the bases like an old man.

I was in Yankee Stadium in 1996, for the first game of the World Series, when Jones hit two majestic home runs as a 19-year-old. He was a brilliant centerfielder, lean and lithe. Now he's hit 415 homers. If he had taken better care of himself, he could have been a Hall of Famer.

-The Lynx just beat the Mystics, 81-62, to improve to 19-6. That's the best record in the WNBA and the most victories in franchise history.

-My topic for tomorrow's column is the woeful shape of the Twins as they look toward next year. Unlike many of you, I don't think they need to clean house of decision-makers, but those decision-makers will have to operate shrewdly to get this team back into contention.

-I have never seen a Twins team make so many fundamental mistakes. Nishioka looks like he's playing soccer. Trevor Plouffe might develop into a good major-league hitter, but he can look lost at any position. Danny Valencia makes too many unforced errors.

At least the Twins have Justin Morneau back. He has turned himself into a wonderful first baseman.

-The Twins have to make big decisions on Michael Cuddyer and Joe Nathan. Cuddyer will test free agency and almost certainly receive offers far bigger than the Twins'. The Twins can keep Nathan by picking up his $12.5 million option.

It's easy to say that Cuddyer isn't worth $10 million to $12 million a year, and that Nathan isn't what he once was, but this team not only can't afford to lose Cuddyer's bat and Nathan's arm, it will have trouble putting together a professional team without their personalities.

Cuddyer and Nathan are the rare current Twins who are determined to do whatever they need to do to compete, are determined to set an example for younger players. Believe me, this clubhouse needs more like them, not fewer.

-Before Thursday, Brian Duensing's career record against the Yankees was 0-1 with a 6.59 ERA. Then he gave up three homers, and six runs in five innings, to the Yanks.

This is an example of why the Twins struggle against the Yankees. Against most teams, Duensing has a chance to outsmart a few hitters and bust a few lefties inside and earn a quality start. Against the Yankees, he's a batting-practice pitcher.

-I miss Delmon Young.

-Ok, no, I really don't.

-There were a few boos when Derek Jeter batted in the first.

Folks: The guy reached 3,000 hits while playing shortstop his entire career, brilliantly handling the pressure of big games and never embarrassing himself in a market constantly looking for tabloid headlines.

You can cheer for the guy. He's been a classy and admirable competitor. This Twins season should make you more appreciative of athletes like him. The guy never wants a day off or fails to run out a ground ball.

-My take on the Vikings' first preseason game: Donovan McNabb and Christian Ponder better be in shape. They're going to need quick feet to survive behind that line.

-I'm hearing the Wolves are whittling their finalists in the coaching search, that Don Nelson, Sam Mitchell and Rick Adelman are the primary targets, although there's still no confirmation that Adelman wants the job.

I'm pulling for Mitchell. I think he could help this team improve immediately, and be willing to stick around long-term if he had success.

-Yes, I just finished a Wolves item without taking a shot at David Kahn.

 

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