Greetings from southwest Florida, where several Twins players already are working out in advance of spring training and the finishing touches are being put on the $48.5 million renovation of Hammond Stadium.
 
The place looks like new. There's a grand entrance right behind home plate, a huge merchandise store, new elevators and suites. For fans who have been to the park in the past, they will no longer have to wait outside a regularly packed club shop and wait to be allowed in to get gear. No more velvet rope!
 
I spent some time today trying to figure out how to get to the clubhouse. And I noticed a couple areas where I would have private conversations no longer exist. I have to find new places to be sneaky!!!!
 
The press box wasn't supposed to get more than carpeting and a coat of paint. But Lee County has stepped up and had the counter tops replaced today. There will be new chairs and, finally, a television. But Twins president Dave St. Peter rolled his eyes at me when I said, ``that TV will come in handy during the NCAA hoops tournament!"
 
Overall, the place looks first class. Anyone planning on attending games here should arrive early and factor in time to gawk. 
 
PLAYERS ON THE FIELD
 
Caught some informal workouts. Kyle Gibson and Mike Pelfrey ran in the outfield, with Pelfrey wearing a mask that looked like the one Bane wore in the Dark Knight Rises. Pelf is a one of a kind.
 
Phil Hughes and Glen Perkins played catch. Brian Duensing threw in the bullpen. Eddie Rosario and Jorge Polanco were among a group a Latin players hanging around a cage on one field. On another, Kennys Vargas, Torii Hunter, Aaron Hicks, Eric Freyer, and Doug Bernier worked out. Sounds like Hunter and Hicks have been hanging out a lot together. They have been out for golf twice and plan on playing tomorrow.
 
Hicks has a beard but his head is bald. If you follow soccer, Hicks is looking a lot like Tim Howard right now.
 
NO HITTING COORDINATOR
 
Chatted with Brad Steil, the Twins director of minor league operations, today. The organization parted ways with Bill Springman after last season but have decided to go this year without an official minor league hitting coordinator.
 
One thing a coordinator does is communicate with the other coaches when hitters move up and down the system, making sure they know what that hitter's strengths and weaknesses are. Now it will be up to the hitting instructor at each level to communicate with the other hitting coaches.
 
"It comes down to communication and making sure coaches are informed,'' Steil said.
 
This is my 18th Twins spring training and 21st overall. I've never heard of such an arrangement. Steil said he believes Colorado did the same thing last season. I checked, and the Rockies are creating a hitting coordinator this year. Colorado also has a development coordinator at each level, which I've never heard of.
 
Wondering how this will work for the Twins. How do you establish a philosophy and establish a system in which players can grow? Each hitting instructor will keep in touch with minor league field coordinator Joel Lepel instead of a hitting coordinator. Lepel is pretty thorough, so it could work.
 
Lepel, by the way, is from Plato, Mn. He gets mad when I don't mention that.
 
HOUSEKEEPING
 
The food guide will be released sometime during the first week of games. Checked out a new place for lunch today. Also, start thinking about potential picks to click this year!!!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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