First things first, Happy Veterans Day! Thank you so much to all who have served this country and helped preserve the freedoms that we all enjoy every day!
Today, several Twins related topics for you to peruse and enjoy.
We have been able to ‘celebrate’ these occurrences the last ten years. Last year, it happened on October 10th. In 2009, it occurred on September 9th. Next December 12th, we’ll certainly be celebrating 12/12/12. But then, it will be 89 years before we can again celebrate this phenomena on January 1st, 2101. With that enlightening, incredibly informative information as the background, I thought it would be fun to note all of the players who have worn the #11 in Minnesota Twins history. In 51 seasons, 20 Twins players have worn #11. It is an interesting list of names!
- Chuck Knoblauch wore #11 from his Rookie of the Year season and World Series run in 1991 until he was traded following the 1997 season.
- No one wore #11 in 1998, but then Jacque Jones wore it well from 1999 until he left via free agency after the 2005 season.
- Many who watch Ben Revere mentioned he and his mannerisms look similar to those of Jones. After wearing #37 during his September debut in 2010, he switched to #11 in 2011.
- Frank Quilici played for the Twins from 1965 through 1970. He then managed the Twins from 1972 to 1975 to a record of 280-287. He wore #43 as a coach and manager. He wore #7 from 1966 through 1970. However, in that World Series season of 1965, he debuted with the #11.
- You remember Minnesota native Greg Olson as the Braves catcher in that 1991 World Series against the Twins. He wore #10 for the Braves, but he wore the #11 in his three games with the Twins in 1989.
- Another catcher wore #11 for the Twins in 1987 and 1988. His name was Tom Nieto, and of course he was in the news last month when he was fired as the Rochester Red Wings manager.
- Another catcher with current-Twins ties wore the #11 from 1980-1982 for the Twins. Sal Butera hit .233/.303/.274 with 15 doubles, 1 triple and 1 home run in parts of four seasons with the Twins (553 PA). His son Drew Butera has hit .178/.220/.261 with 15 doubles, 2 triples and four home runs the past two seasons with the Twins (409 PA).
- Tim Teufel wore #11 as a Twins infielder from 1983 through 1985 before being traded to the Mets in a deal that brought Billy Beane to the Twins. He was recently promoted to the Mets big league coaching staff after managing in the minor leagues for several years.
- Jason Pridie wore the #11 in his brief Twins stints in 2008 and 2009. Yesterday, he was outrighted by the Mets after playing 101 games for them in 2011.
- Others who wore the #11 for the Twins: Ron Henry (1961), George Banks (1962-1964), Frank Kostro (1964-1965), Bernie Allen (1966), Ted Uehlander (1967-1968), Brant Alyea (1970-1971), Steve Brye (1972-1976), Terry Bulling (1977), Rusty Kuntz (1983), Al Woods (1986), and Josh Rabe (2006-2007).
At about 7:00 central time on Wednesday night, it came out that former Twins prospect Wilson Ramos had been kidnapped from his home in Venezuela. To be completely honest, even with all the disturbing news coming out of Penn State, I can’t stop thinking about this. Ramos is just 24. He was just hanging out at home with his dad and his brother when armed gunmen came up and abducted him. It is an incredibly scary situation and has people discussing. Should MLB do more to secure the safety of their players in other countries? Should US players even go to Venezuela? All of those discussions should be had. However, they can happen later. At this point, finding a way to bring Ramos back safely is all that matters. That’s the scary part!
As much as we hear about kidnappings being regular occurrences in Venezuela, every instance is different. Experts tell us that when there is a ransom involved, the kidnapped person is generally returned safely. However, as this situation crosses past the 24 hour mark, there is yet to be contact between the kidnappers and the Ramos family. Some speculate that it could take as much as $20 million ransom to have Ramos returned. The reality is that we don’t know how this situation will end, and until we know that Ramos is safe, we just won’t know.
Twins Send Letter to Season-Ticket Holders
In a letter dated November 8th, David St. Peter (President of the Twins) addressed the changes in the Twins front office, the transition from Bill Smith back to Terry Ryan. NoDak Twins Fan shared the letter with his readers:
“With this week's announcement behind us, the weeks and months to come promise to be exciting as our roster takes shape for the 2012 season. There is no question that key decisions await and opportunities are on the horizon. Rest assured, we are working harder than ever to return to postseason play with the hopes of bringing you a third World Championship.”
Mesa on MLB Network
Tonight at 7:00 central time, the Mesa Solar Sox will be playing on MLB Network. Of course, Mesa is the team that the Twins seven prospects are playing for. Here is a quick update of how the Twins are doing:
- Brian Dozier started at 2B in last Saturday’s Rising Stars game. He homered in his first at bat of that game. On Thursday, he went 3-4 with a walk, a double and a game-winning home run. He is now hitting .319/.368/.489 with seven doubles and three home runs.
- Chris Herrmann is hitting .359/.444/.564 with five doubles and a home run in 39 at bats.
- Aaron Hicks is hitting .235/.337/.494 with five doubles, four triples and three home runs. People are always asking me about his lefty-righty splits. They are significant, even in the limited sample size of the AFL. In 57 at bats against right-handers, he is hitting .193/.313/.439 (752) with three doubles, four triples and a home run. Against southpaws, he is hitting .321/.387/.607 (.994) with two doubles and two home runs.
- Minnesotan Cole DeVries has been terrific. The righty has made seven starts and is 2-0 with a 2.74 ERA and a 0.87 WHIP. In 23 innings, he has walked just three and struck out 16.
- Brett Jacobson is 1-2 with a 3.97 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. In 11.1 innings, he has walked eight and struck out 11. Dakota Watts is 0-1 with two saves, a 6.57 ERA and a 1.86 WHIP. In 12.1 innings pitched, he has walked 10 and struck out eight. Bruce Pugh is 0-1 with a 12.34 ERA and a 3.17 WHIP. In 11.2 innings, he has walked 15 and struck out 11.
After the Twins outrighted Brian Dinkelman to Rochester for the second time this year, he had the right to become a free agent. Yesterday, the Twins were able to re-sign him. He hit .301/.346/.315 with a double in 73 at bats with the Twins while playing the corner outfield positions and some 2B. He hit just .243/.316/.324 with 27 doubles, a triple and three home runs in 127 games in Triple-A Rochester. Dinkelman turned 28 years old yesterday. Here is a list of 12 players that the Twins allowed to become six-year minor league free agents.
Scouting Japan Again
It is comical to me when I read or hear some people say or write that the Twins would be crazy to sign someone from Japan after the 2011 season that Tsuyoshi Nishioka said. That kind of thinking makes no sense to me. If there are players that scouts believe have the stuff to help a team win, they should absolutely be interested. If Terry Ryan is willing to give Nishioka a mulligan to his injury-filled, disappointing first season in America, so am I. This week, it came out that the Twins may be interested and have been scouting a couple of pitchers from Japan, Hisashi Iwakuma and Tsuyoshi Wada.
No surprise that the Twins may have interest in Iwakuma. They acknowledged last year that they big high on the right-hander when he had to be posted. This year, Iwakuma is a free agent, so they can negotiate directly with him, but so can everyone else. He had a tough year this year in Japan, in large part due to shoulder and back issues. He didn’t pitch from May 17 until July 27. In 2011, his average fastball was 87-91 mph. He threw a cutter between 86-90 mph. He has a slider that sits between 77 and 81 and a curveball which he throws between 69 and 74 mph. In previous years, he threw a little faster, touching 93 at times. If healthy, he can be a solid #3 or #4 starter.
In 2010, the Twins became the first team to have two Rene’s in the same lineup. Is it possible that in 2011, the Twins could have two Tsuyoshi’s? The left-handed Tsuyoshi Wada has average stuff and very good control. His fastball is thrown at 86-88 mph. He throws a slider between 78 and 81 mph. He has a good changeup in the 76-80 mph range, and also throws a forkball in that same range. He throws a slow curve in the low 70s. He would profile as a back of the rotation starter, long reliever of LOOGY.