The most telling example of a team's maturity is the quality of its at-bats.

The Twins put on a clinic on Friday night.

They wore down Sonny Gray, one of baseball's best pitchers, until he loaded the bases on two walks and a single, and hung a slider that Trevor Plouffe smashed for a grand slam in the Twins' 5-0 victory.

Miguel Sano took another remarkable at-bat, taking pitches that most players - rookie or veterans - fish for, before drawing a walk.

Just as Danny Santana's quality at-bat and single might have been the key to the Twins' seven-run ninth-inning rally the previous Friday against Detroit, Sano's at-bat set up Plouffe's slam.

In the minors, Sano was known for cockiness, for trash-talk, even for getting benched for a game in Class A by his friend Doug Mientkiewicz for failing to run out a ground ball. Eddie Rosario was known as a difficult personality in the low minors.

Some players are better in the big leagues than in the minors. They're more motivated, more invested, like the smart kid who loses interest in easy classes and aces the hard ones.

Sano has looked like the Twins' most polished hitter since he arrived, and he hasn't even started driving the ball. His premier skills are hitting the ball a long way and throwing with extreme velocity. The kid hasn't even started showing off yet.


Thanks for the tremendous response I received from my column about my favorite baseball glove. Lots of amazing memories and thoughts.

If you missed it, it's online, of course, but the highlight of the package was our photographer Jeff Wheeler's photos and descriptions of different players' gloves and how they break them in. I preferred Neat's Foot Oil, packing a ball in the palm and wrapping it in a belt until it formed a pocket.

I recommend trying to find the hardcopy of the Thursday paper. Great stuff.


Latest podcasts at - my interviews with Eddie Guardado, Brian Dozier and Torii Hunter; weekly conversations about hockey and life with Strib hockey guru Michael Russo; and weekly conversations and roster breakdowns with Viking Update publisher Tim Yotter.

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My next interview is a long sit down with Vikings Hall of Famer John Randle. That will be up next week.