I leave Florida on Monday, and may be heading home to Minnesota only to jump on a flight to wherever the Gophers are playing in the NCAA tournament.
That's why I picked Monday as a departure date in the first place, but I had given up hope that the Gophs would make it until this weekend. I don't think conference tournaments should carry this much weight, but I'm always glad when the local teams make themselves worth covering.
Today I'm at Hammond Stadium on a beautiful day. A few Twins' impressions:
-The Twins are using Glen Perkins late in games, and his body language is terrible. If they weren't going to give him a chance to compete for a spot in the rotation, they should have traded him this winter.
Now I'd suggest they package him in a deal for a closer. No, Perkins isn't enough to bring a good closer by himself, but the Twins should have enough organizational depth to be able to make a deal, if there are any worthwhile closers available. (Heath Bell is the best thought to be available, but the Padres are thought to be asking a lot for him.)
--Alexi Casilla is another player who doesn't seem to be making a push for a roster spot. He's on his way to becoming the next Luis Rivas - a talented young infielder who lacked the fire to fulfill his potential.
-The young starters are a bright spot. Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey and Nick Blackburn all look sharp.
It's funny in baseball how our predictions are often right - at the wrong times. Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer have been even better than projected, but they arrived a year later than we anticipated. Last year, we thought the Twins' young starters would be outstanding, and Baker started slowly, Slowey got hurt and Liriano was still trying to learn how to pitch with a surgically-repaired arm.
This spring, all four of them look sharp and comfortable. I could see them, with good health, providing 850 innings. (Of course, Jack Morris, before the game, was telling me they should all pitch about 10 complete games. That would save the bullpen.)
-I mentioned this on the radio show today - with Joe Mauer hanging out with J.J. Hardy and Morneau hanging out with Jim Thome, I fear that the greatest Bromance in Twin Cities history may be over. Watch TMZ for updates.
-I'm here one more day, and I'll be on am-1500 at 7:45 a.m. and on WJON in St. Cloud at 7:14 a.m. I usually go on with Joe Anderson at 6:05 on Monday afternoons, but I'll be in the air, so we'll have to push that back a day or two.
-You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib.
-We had Bill Smith, Denard Span and Nick Blackburn on Sunday Sports Talk today in a Twins-centric broadcast from Hammond Stadium. Next week, the Ron Gardenhire Show debuts at 9:30 a.m. before we start Sunday Sports Talk. Remember to call in and ask Gardy why he doesn't bunt more. He loves that.