1. Chris Colabello made some tweaks to his swing, and it's paying off.
A lot's been made about him getting closer to the plate, and he is. He worked real hard on shortening his swing two ways. One is by not having so much of a front leg kick, a la Kirby Puckett. He's keeping that lower to the ground, which makes his timing a little more consistent. The other is he used to have a big hand hitch with the bat. That lengthens out the swing. In trying to soften that up a little bit with that hitch, that shortens his swing down. The reason that's important for him is he has a lot of talent to hit. He's so strong that the main thing for him is not to swing and miss or foul back the good pitches that he gets. So far, that's what's happened. The good pitchers against Oakland, they gave him a little trouble. He didn't get many hits but he hit the ball hard. If he can not miss them or foul them back and his mechanics are better, he could stumble into 75, 80 RBI just hitting the bad pitches.
Tony Dejak/Associated PressTony Dejak
2. It's a bit early to read too much into the first few starts for Ricky Nolasco (left) and Phil Hughes.
I thought Hughes pitched well in his second start against Oakland, except he walked the first two guys of the ball game. You can't do that. However, it wasn't like he didn't have any command. The ball was really close. But walking the first two guys against a good hitting team, you can't do that. Other than that, he didn't pitch too badly. I think that was encouraging. Nolasco, he's notoriously a warm weather pitcher. Maybe that's all that is. Maybe he just has to get to the point where he's feeling comfortable with the ball in his hand.
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3. The Twins' catching situation is fine without Joe Mauer.
I think Kurt Suzuki's done a really, really good job and will get better as time goes on and as he gets more used to the pitchers in game situations, not just spring training. He's very solid back there, both in blocking balls and calling the game and receiving the ball. I think he'll be a stabilizing influence on the pitching staff. Josmil Pinto has a ways to go defensively, but the young man can just flat hit. It's going to be interesting to see how that plays out.
David Richard-USA TODAY SportsDavid Richard
4. Speaking of Joe Mauer, he's handled his new position well.
He is such a good athlete. First base is not a position that's hard to play. It's hard to play it great. A guy who's a good athlete can go out there and play it in his sleep. If he wants to work at it, if he wants to be a really good first baseman, he'll be there. Any good athlete, if he applies himself, he'll be a really good first baseman.
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY SportsJesse Johnson
5. This lineup was a question mark before the season, but it's been a bright spot so far.
I think this team can score runs, especially if Oswaldo Arcia and Josh Willingham come back from hand injuries and get back into some kind of groove. They've got pretty good hitters up and down the lineup. It changes things with Colabello. All of a sudden he comes out of nowhere and he's off to a good start. If he's anywhere close to being like this, then that changes the lineup quite a bit. Then you've got Mauer and Colabello and Jason Kubel. Kubel changes things. So you've got Colabello and Kubel that you didn't really have last year to count on. Brian Dozier (left) is going to get some hits and Mauer's always going to be on base. You've got Kubel and Colabello, that takes a little pressure off Trevor Plouffe (right). When Arcia and Willingham come back, then all of a sudden you've got guys up and down the lineup that may not all hit for .300 but they have a chance to get hits.