• It’s looking more likely that Twins first baseman Joe Mauer, who is having a great comeback season if there ever was one, is going to win a Gold Glove. Tom Kelly, the former Twins manager who has worked for years teaching first base at spring training, said this of Mauer’s play: “Joe has been fabulous over there. He’s such a good athlete, and it just took him a little time. I thought he was good a couple years ago, but he’s really on top of it now.”
• Jaleel Johnson, the Vikings’ fourth-round pick out of Iowa, talked about what he learned from longtime Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz. “Honestly from freshman year to the day I left, Coach Ferentz has been one of those guys who helped me all throughout my career, whether it was school or whether it’s football or anything like that,” Johnson said. “He’s just one of those guys you can go to and talk to. If you’re ever having struggles outside of football and you want to clear your mind he can talk to you, or he has people he can send you to who do that kind of thing. Coach Ferentz is just one of those guys I respect.”
• Max Kepler is one of four German-born players currently in the major leagues. He said it was a bit of good luck that landed him with the Twins. “It’s not as big as it is over here, yet,” he said. “I’d say it’s overshadowed by soccer. But I had the right coaches around me, had great sources, and the right connections to the U.S. Thankfully I got over here soon enough to show what I had to offer.” The other German-born players are Philadelphia outfielder Aaron Altherr, Oakland catcher Bruce Maxwell and Washington pitcher Edwin Jackson, but they all played high school baseball in the United States, unlike Kepler.
• The Oregon State football roster includes two ex-Big Ten players: defensive tackle Craig Evans, who played at Michigan State as a freshman, and safety Austin Hudson, who began his career at Wisconsin, then spent two years at South Florida before reuniting with former Badgers coach Gary Andersen with the Beavers.