Here's a little peek into a day in the life of a ballwriter. Sometimes, there's a lot of standing around in the clubhouse, waiting for the person you want to interview to show his face. Until then you're huddled in the middle of the clubhouse looking like dorks.
Then there are mornings like today, when everyone you need is at their stall and you're filling up your notebook. Former sidekick Joe Christensen referred to them as "shooting fish in a barrel," days.
It was a fairly productive morning for me. I was able to speak with Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton, which just doesn't happen.
Sano said that the plan is for the medical staff to take a look at his lacerated heel tomorrow. He's hoping that he will be able shed the walking boot he's been wearing for over a week now and begin to work out again.
"It's much better," he said.
The laceration was horizontal, so the Twins were concerned that walking on it would interfere with the healing schedule. That led to the walking cast on his right foot. He's been unable to do any drills or cardio work, so he'll have to play catch-up in that regard.
He has been able to do some upper body work, but, "it's not the same," he said.
Sano said he's been bored for days, unable to be out on the field with his teammates or get a full workout in. He proved it a few minutes later, when he laid on the floor of the clubhouse and threw a baseball off the ceiling, catching it with a glove that has seen no action in Florida.
Later in the morning, Byron Buxton was made available to the raging media horde. Buxton has devastated Grapefruit League pitching, going 5-for-5 with two home runs and 10 RBI. There's a long way to go until Opening Day, but at least Buxton is having some success.
The conversation with him was rather interesting. Phil Miller will have more on this later, but Buxton sounds like someone who is taking ownership of his swing. What I mean by that is, after years of listening to everyone tell him how to hit, he's learned to extract the advice that fits him the best.
"I’m more comfortable with it because the whole offseason, it was just myself," Buxton said. "So it’s my swing, my thought process, my thinking, everything with my swing now is me. I didn’t go to no hitting coach, I didn’t go work out with nobody, I worked out by myself, I hit by myself and that’s where it’s going to stay.
When asked if he finally got other voices out of his head, he replied: "Oh, everything is out of my head. I’m clearer now than I ever was."
The big key, to me, is that Buxton got rid of the leg kick he started using toward the end of 2017. Most players who reach the majors realize they have to ditch the leg kick. Buxton added one. And, while it made him feel comfortable at the time, I wondered if it was sustainable. As it turned out, no.
"Once I took the leg kick out, that put my thought process at ease," Buxton said. "I wasn't thinking about when I had to lower my leg, where I had to land, where my foot needed to be. All those things that goes into having that leg kick I eliminated to where it was very simple for me and all I do is step. Step and see the ball."
It's a start, a start that has had immediate results. Let's see if he can sustain it.
The Twins play host to the Pirates today, who have their own streaking in third baseman Jung Ho Kang, who blasted two home runs on Sunday.
Erik Gonzalez, SS
Jung Ho Kang, 3B
Patrick Kivlehan, LF
Will Craig, 1B
Bryan Reynolds, RF
Kevin Kramer, 2B
JB Shuck, CF
Jason Martin, DH
Steve Baron, C
Mitch Keller, RHP
Max Kepler, CF
Jorge Polanco, SS
Mitch Garver, C
Eddie Rosario, LF
Tyler Austin, 1B
Jason Castro, DH
Ehire Adrianza, 2B
Ronald Torreyes, 3B
LaMonte Wade, RF
Tyler Duffey, RHP