As newcomers arrive at spring training, expectations for Twins rise

Twins newcomers (⬆️ UP)

Ahhh, spring training. The time of year where we get way too excited from watching videos of players taking cuts via blurry footage from every beat reporter’s iPhone 4. But can you blame us? Josh Donaldson, Kenta Maeda and all the other newcomers on the 2020 Twins have reported to Fort Myers, Fla., to get to work. And — as we detailed in a story published Tuesday — big things are expected from this club in 2020. Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs and USA Today, among other outlets, project Minnesota to win the AL Central by a large margin. Let the games begin.

 

Tournament odds for Gophers men’s hoops (⬇️ DOWN)

The month of February hasn’t been kind to Richard Pitino and company. After routing Wisconsin 70-52 at home, the Gophers dropped two potential resume-building games against No. 22 Penn State and No. 21 Iowa. Minnesota’s latest loss to the Hawkeyes wasn’t pretty. A 3-ball from Payton Willis gave the Gophers a 55-47 lead with just over five minutes to play. But Iowa went on an 11-0 run to finish the game and hand Minnesota its fifth loss in the last seven contests. The Gophers are now 12-12 overall and in 10th place in the Big Ten. They’ll need to go on a serious run over their last six games (as well as the conference tournament) to be considered for a second straight NCAA tournament bid.

 

More Twins Coverage

Jason Zucker, former Wild forward (⬆️ UP)

While the Wild’s offense struggles, Zucker has found something in his new home. Traded to Pittsburgh last week, Zucker is now playing on the same line as two-time Hart Memorial Trophy winner Sidney Crosby — and thriving. He’s tallied three goals and an assist in four games, and everyone in Pittsburgh seems to be embracing the Zuckers. Good for No. 16.

 

Dean Evason, Wild interim coach (⬇️ DOWN)

The Evason era didn’t exactly get off to a booming start at the Xcel Energy Center. In his first game as interim head coach since Bruce Boudreau was fired last Friday, Evason’s lines didn’t spark much urgency in Minnesota’s offense in a 2-0 loss to San Jose on Saturday. Currently seven points out of a playoff spot (but with four games in hand), the Wild need to find something quickly if Evason is going to be considered for the full-time gig this summer. They’ll get another chance Wednesday night when the Wild visit Vancouver.

 

Josh Okogie, Timberwolves guard (⬆️ UP)

Okogie was the lone Timberwolves representative at the 2020 NBA All-Star weekend when he suited up for Team World in the Rising Stars Challenge. In 16 minutes on the floor, Okogie logged five points, five assists, three rebounds and one block on 2-of-5 shooting from the floor (1 of 4 from deep).

 

Stefon Diggs, Vikings receiver (🤷 SHRUG?)

Diggs has been filling everyone’s Twitter timeline with cryptic tweets this offseason like “business is business” and “people don’t appreciate things until they’re gone.” In this modern age, of course, every Vikings fan interpreted this as Diggs wants out of Minnesota. Well, on Tuesday night Diggs logged onto Instagram and deleted every picture of himself in Vikings gear. What could this all mean? Shrug.