March 24, 2022

Finally, signs of life from the Twins’ ‘A Team’

So far I’ve been more impressed with the Twins’ “B team” than the “A team” during exhibition play. The B squad, of course, features a lineup of youngsters and unfamiliar names that likely won’t start the season with the Twins. Still, they rapped out eight hits and scored eight runs in a 10-8 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Monday. Despite the loss, it was the most runs scored by a Twins squad this spring.

But that changed Wednesday when the A squad — the team that features all those names we know and recognize — finally got its act together and scored 10 runs on nine hits to defeat the Boston Red Sox, 10-4. Trevor Larnach homered, Nick Gordon had two hits and Max Kepler, Gio Urshela and Ryan Jeffers all singled.

Now that’s more like it.

Although hits and runs have been in short supply, the pitching has looked pretty good. Pitching prospect and Wednesday starter Josh Winder pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Winder has put up some impressive numbers in the minors, compiling a record of 14-3 with a 2.82 ERA and 240 strikeouts in 236-plus innings.

Reliever Danny Coulombe looked good, too, on Wednesday with four strikeouts over two innings.

And pitching sensation Joe Ryan, who was acquired late last season and is expected to be part of the rotation, pitched scoreless baseball on Tuesday, thanks in large part to center fielder Byron Buxton. Buxton went hard up against the wall to rob a home run from the Atlanta Braves. The Twins ultimately lost 4-0, but if Buxton doesn’t make that play, Ryan likely would have been the pitcher of record for the loss.

Extra innings…

-The Twins improved to 2-5 this spring.

-This spring training and last year’s effort look very similar. The Twins pitched better than they hit and when the regular season started the poor hitting and lack of run-scoring continued while the quality pitching took a nosedive. That all changes with Carlos Correa, right?

-It was great to see Buxton do Buxton-like things and take away a home run from the Braves. But it was also a little disconcerting because it appears that Buck has no intention of dialing it back to preserve his body and health. Do we not want him to make incredible plays? No, I guess not. A great play is a great play. But it also means we should prepare ourselves for another 70-game season, or the average number of games played by Buxton during his time with the Twins because of injuries.

And then there was this…


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.