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Continued: Hartman: Cassel ready to help, challenge Ponder

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 26, 2013 - 7:38 AM

Scott Diamond is 5-9 through 18 starts this year, meaning he has lost as many games this season as he did all of last year, when he went 12-9 in 27 starts. His ERA has jumped nearly two runs from 3.54 in 2012 to 5.53 this year.

Ryan Doumit’s batting average has dropped nearly 40 points, from .275 in 2012 to .237 this year. He’s hit nine home runs in 87 games this year compared to a career-high 18 in 134 games last season. He also has only 42 RBI, meaning he’s on pace for 11 fewer RBI in 2013.

Josh Willingham, who is on the disabled list because of a torn meniscus, is hitting only .224 this season with 10 home runs, 37 RBI and 32 runs scored. Last year Willingham hit .260 with career highs in home runs (35), RBI (110) and runs scored (85).

The Twins are playing better of late, having won three series in a row for the first time this season, but they could really have shown improvement if their former stars had maintained their production.

Jottings

• Vikings coach Leslie Frazier on the offensive line: “It’s going to be one of our strengths, for sure. We have a left tackle in Matt Kalil who we have high hopes for, going to the Pro Bowl his rookie season. Then getting a healthy [center] John Sullivan back, and [right tackle] Phil Loadholt, the way he’s progressed, that’s big. Then we need our guards to step up and really play well — Charlie Johnson and Brandon Fusco — I mean they really have to step up. And if that’s the case, you’re probably right, that’s going to be one of the strengths of our football team without question.”

• Two of the Gophers’ top football centers probably won’t play this year. Zach Mottla, who broke his leg in the 17-3 victory last season over Illinois, recently had further surgery on the leg and has decided to give up football. Brian Bobek, who transferred to Minnesota from Ohio State last year and was eligible to play this year, has been ill and this might keep him out of action this season. The team still has redshirt sophomore Jon Christenson, who started every game last season at different spots on the offensive line and ended the year at center.

• Amir Coffey of Hopkins, the son of former Gophers basketball player Richard Coffey, fractured a bone in his leg Sunday and is out of action until this fall. The 6-5 wing in the Class of 2016 is being recruited by Minnesota and nationally by other schools. … Among the many outstanding high school basketball players being recruited hard nationally is Lakeville North shooting guard J.P. Macura, who recently was offered a scholarship by the University of Miami. … GopherIllustrated.com reports that Apple Valley, with point guard Tyus Jones, will play Whitney Young High School out of Chicago, which has 6-10 center Jahlil Okafor. Okafor is the No. 1 recruit in the country and plans to attend the same college as Jones. The game will be at Apple Valley on Dec. 12.

 

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

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