Minnesota baseball followers in search of depression can start with the best characters the Twins had going for them:
• Byron Buxton was producing and playing center field in such astounding fashion that I was looking up Willie Mays' numbers for the 35 games he played for the Minneapolis Millers in 1951. Those were .477 batting average, eight home runs and 30 RBI, meaning Buxton was 100 points shy of Willie, but already had him in homers.
On Tuesday at Target Field, Buxton smacked No. 9 above the bullpen in left center. By Thursday, he was injured again — this time, a hip blip that showed up running to first — and will miss weeks.
• Alex Kirilloff, the awaited rookie, flew out to the center-field fence in his first at-bat on April 30, then ripped two home runs. He had four home runs in three games, and two doubles in the next game.
And that was the conclusion of the Kirilloff phenomenon: four days. Wrist injury. Not his first. A couple of weeks out of action, probable rehab in St. Paul … we'll probably see that lefthanded swing at Target Field again in June.
• Luis Arraez, left field, third base, anywhere, but most importantly, a lefty to lead off, to slap a clutch hit, a general pain-in-the-posterior for opponents.
Presto! He slid into home plate on his belly, got himself dinged and is spending a week in concussion protocol.
There's also the sad state of Miguel Sano, returning from a leg injury, extra-large and slow to the fastball. After spending days taking long BP against the pitching machine's best heat, to little effect, it seemed from here the joy was gone from our Miggy, replaced by a resignation that he will never be in the Home Run Derby again.
These items left no reason to go searching for additional Twins gloom, and then I decided to inspect the roster for the St. Paul Saints as the neighborhood Class AAA franchise started its season.
The purpose was to find out what pitchers might be there to add a real arm to the troubled Twins bullpen. Since first look, Randy Dobnak has arrived to start, and Brandon Waddell was claimed off waivers by the Orioles after two botched outings with the Twins.
The Saints originally had 18 pitchers on a 31-player roster. These included Jhoan Duran, alleged to be a serious prospect, but working his arm into shape in Florida.
Starter Lewis Thorpe is there now. Bailey Ober, a 6-foot-9 righthander, is supposed to have a chance. Charlie Barnes, a fourth-rounder from 2017, is lefthanded, so he could show up some day.
Shaun Anderson was acquired from the Giants for outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. He didn't make the big club and is in St. Paul. Griffin Jax is a Twins' draftee from the Air Force Academy and has been a starter in the organization since 2016.
The Saints opened with a dozen pitchers who had been around long enough that the staff could have passed for one of those third-chance groups that George Tsamis had with the previous, independent Saints.
Scratch Waddell and then there were 11: Andrew Albers, Danny Coulombe, Luke Farrell, Ian Gibaut, Ian Hamilton, Robinson Leyer, Juan Minaya, Chandler Shepherd, Glenn Sparkman, Andrew Vasquez and Derek Law.
On Saturday, it was Law, a 30-year-old righthander, who had been summoned to Detroit. In his Twins debut, he entered in the seventh attempting to clean up Tyler Duffey's mess and instead turned it into a five-run inning for the Tigers.
Where are the fresh, flamethrowing arms for this bullpen that are seen elsewhere? The Twins talk of Jorge Alcala as a young guy still trying to rein in his quality stuff, and he will be 26 in July.
As Twins followers, we don't want to see scouring through a staff that might not have won Tsamis an American Association pennant.
We want bullpen arms. We want our own Emmanuel Clase and James Karinchak.