March 2, 2018

Don’t look now, Jorge Polanco, but you’ve got competition

A season ago, Twins infielder Jorge Polanco won the job of shortstop, beating out Eduardo Escobar, who would go on to split time with Miguel Sano at third base. Polanco is likely to hang onto that role this season, but he also might be looking over his shoulder at two players who could replace him in the lineup: Veteran Erick Aybar and relative newcomer, Ehire Adrianza.

Both are off to quick starts this spring, while Polanco is ice-cold. He has one hit in his first 11 at bats, or a batting average of .091.

Meanwhile, Aybar, best known for his years with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, is among the team leaders in hitting with four hits in his first eight at bats, or a batting average of .500. Adrianza, too, has seen a lot of action this spring. He has so far appeared in six games and has five hits in 15 at bats, including two doubles and a home run. His spring average so far is .333.

Extra innings…

-Center fielder Byron Buxton, who went hitless in his first two spring games and had me wondering about another ice-cold start to the season, has bounced back with four hits, including a home run. He might still be working on his hitting, but he has nothing to worry about on defense after he robbed C.J. Cron of a home run on Wednesday.

-The Twins aren’t exactly knocking the ball all over the place and scoring a ton of runs. They played seven games in February and scored 19 runs. The good news is that those seven games were low scoring affairs because the pitching has been decent. Several starters and relievers have so far made scoreless appearances, including Kyle Gibson, Jose Berrios, Phil Hughes and Addison Reed. Now, it’s on to March.

-The New York Yankees sit atop the Grapefruit League standings with a record of 6-1 as of Thursday, while the Twins are 3-3. In the Cactus League, the Kansas City Royals are undefeated at 5-0.

-Seven double plays were turned in Thursday’s game between the Twins and St. Louis Cardinals. The Twins had three, while the Cards were one better with four.


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.