The barbecue smoke is wafting out to leftfield tonight as the Twins take on the Orioles at Hammond Stadium.
-Denard Span has reached base in the first inning of all five games in which he's played, and he stole second base easily tonight. I talked to him today for a piece I'll run in the next week or so. He looks locked in.
-Jon Rauch just took the mound in relief of Scott Baker, who allowed one run in three innings. Rauch is really big and has really ugly tattoos, but at least he doesn't throw hard.
If Joe Nathan had stayed healthy, I think the Twins might have been willing to trade Rauch, but now he might become their de facto closer.
I'm not in favor of that. Most of his success closing came for the Washington Nationals. I would prefer someone with big-league experience.
-Mauer has reached new heights of popularity. He comes to the plate in the first inning of a spring training game, and lightbulbs flash like it's the World Series.
-I'll be on am-1500 Friday at 7:45 a.m. and 6:05 p.m., and on WJON at 7:14 a.m.
-You can follow me on Twitter at Souhanstrib.
-I really don't expect the Twins to wind up trading Mauer, but if they did, the Red Sox would be the team to do a deal with. They have loads of good young talent, and I'm told they would do just about anything to land Mauer.
If it ever comes to a trade, how about Mauer for Daniel Bard (who would become the Twins' closer), Clay Buchholz (who would become one of the Twins' best starters), Mike Lowell (who would start at third base for a season), catcher Dusty Brown (to be a stopgap until Wilson Ramos is ready, or a backup to Ramos) and a top prospect.
The Sox could move Victor Martinez to first, Kevin Youkilis to third, they wouldn't need Brown, they have lots of starting pitching, and the Twins could take the $200 million Mauer wants and keep a handful of other key players.
That would be better than the Knoblauch deal.
-Just watched Francisco Liriano for the first time this spring. He spun out on his first pitch, then struck out Pedro Florimon and Nolan Remold (I swear I did not just make up those names). Robert Andino tripled on a first-pitch fastball, then Liriano got Markakis to ground to second.
Liriano pitched a second shutout inning, looking pretty smooth.
-Talk to you tomorrow.