The signing of Kendrys Morales adds a big bat to the lineup.
He's certainly been a proven major league hitter. It's a good thing any time you have an opportunity to add a proven hitter and a guy who hits from both sides of the plate. He's got a little pop in his bat. He's got a really good idea of the strike zone so he has the ability to work some pitchers. And he provides a presence in the middle of a lineup, a guy that if you make a mistake, he can hit it out of the ballpark. Manager Ron Gardenhire has the opportunity to write the guy's name in the lineup on a daily basis and he can run him out there and not worry about pinch hitting toward the end of the game with regards to right-left matchups. He can pretty much set him up any way he wants to and protect whoever's in front of him in the lineup.
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY SportsDan Hamilton
By adding Morales, the front office is showing faith in the rest of the team.
Certainly, it gives the clubhouse a boost. They went out in the offseason and did the best they could to improve the pitching staff, and certainly that was first and foremost. Ricky Nolasco's been pitching well, and Phil Hughes has been exceptional for quite a while now. To bring these guys in to bolster the pitching staff, now you have an opportunity to add a little bit of offense and you bring a guy in like Kendrys Morales and stick him in the lineup, it sends a pretty strong message that, 'Hey, nobody's really out of this Central division race.' It's only through mid-June. A lot can happen. We've seen the Detroit Tigers stumble a little bit. Everybody's going to go through that at some point during the course of the season. The Twins are competing. They're playing hard. Anything can happen. I think they feel pretty good about where they're at right now, and they feel good about improving their situation as a team moving forward.
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY SportsDan Hamilton
Josmil Pinto has some work to do after his demotion to Triple-A.
I hope somebody can get a hold of him and smooth out some of the rough edges. First of all, one of the things that I like a lot is that he sits square to the pitcher now. As soon as he gets a base runner, he gets way too wide in his stance. When he gets too wide, his hips get locked and he ends up instead of moving toward a pitch on the outside half of the plate, his butt moves the other way and he's reaching. Or if he's sitting inside on a left-hander and the pitch is on the outer half of the plate, his butt's moving the wrong way. So he's got to move toward the pitch with a more narrow stance. He's got a good arm, but he pushes the baseball so his hand is behind the ball. He has to work harder to make sure he gets his hand on top of the baseball and his arm up just a little bit.
Joe Mauer's swing isn't broken.
I don't think Joe's swing has changed since the first time he picked up a bat. He might be just a tad long right now, but I don't think there's anything wrong with Joe's swing. The only thing that I can tell is that if you were to ask him, he'd probably tell you he's just not seeing the ball very well. Joe Mauer always sees the baseball, and for whatever reason, I just don't think he's seeing it very well. I don't think he's picking it up out of the pitcher's hand. I think a lot of times for Joe -- or for anybody that hits .320 most of their career -- the ball comes up to the plate looking like a volleyball. Right now, I think when he stands at the plate, it's probably coming in looking like an aspirin pill. I think that's all it is. There's nothing wrong with his swing that I can tell.
Eduardo Nunez has adjusted well to his role as a utility player.
This organization, they liked this kid the first time they ever saw him. I think they probably liked him a little bit more in the infield, but I think they liked him offensively. For him to come over here from New York and make the move has been a little bit of an adjustment for him. He's playing different positions. He's not playing regularly. He's getting his at-bats. I've got to tip my hat to him because he's done everything that Gardy's asked him to do. It's an adjustment when you're not playing on a regular or semi-regular basis. You have to work that much harder to get your work in before the game so that you're prepared when the manager calls on you. I think he's done a really nice job of staying prepared.