Mike Berardino / St. Paul Pioneer Press
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Hard work transformed Kennys Vargas from an undrafted free agent out of Puerto Rico in 2009 to one of the most popular Twins players since he broke in four years ago.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — As closure goes, it's hard to imagine a better scenario than what Jake Mauer experienced here this week. Back in town for a weeklong visit with his wife and three young children, the longtime Twins minor-league manager had a chance to say his goodbyes as he strolled the grounds in civilian clothes. There were games to watch, both at Hammond Stadium and on the back fields.
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — In his four full seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays, Jake Odorizzi had a dugout-level seat for Opening Day starts by David Price (2014) and, the past three seasons, Chris Archer. The opportunity to kick off this Twins' season on March 29 in Baltimore, an increasingly likely (if still unofficial) scenario, carries great appeal for the right-hander.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — While Lance Lynn said former St. Louis Cardinals teammate Zach Duke was among the Twins he reached out to before choosing his new team, the veteran reliever refused to take credit for helping to land Lynn on a one-year, $12 million deal. "I'm not a recruiter," Duke said. "I don't have any skills in that area." Nor did the Twins' front office, Duke said, solicit his opinions on how Lynn might fit into the clubhouse "That wasn't a conversation we had," he said.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Minnesota Twins catcher Willians Astudillo had no idea Wednesday morning he had become an internet sensation, his handiwork being trumpeted everywhere from ESPN to MLB Network to Twitter. Same for first baseman Kennys Vargas, whose alertness and sweep tag made the unlikeliest of plays — a no-look pickoff throw — work Monday night in an exhibition game against the New York Yankees in Tampa.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — On his first day with the Twins, veteran right-hander Lance Lynn was asked about the risk he was taking in turning down multiyear security to pitch on a one-year, $12 million deal in 2018. "I don't think I'm taking a risk at all," Lynn said. "I get a chance to play in the big leagues against the best players in the world. Whether it's one year or multiple years, you still have to do your job. If I do what I've done my whole career, I'll be fine and if I don't then I didn't deserve anything that goes beyond this year, anyways."
FORT MYERS, Fla. — After making three major additions since the start of spring training and pushing their projected Opening Day payroll close to a club-record $128 million, it's fair to wonder whether the Twins already have spent whatever discretionary funds they might have had for the July 31 trade deadline. "We'll evaluate that when we get a lot closer," Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said Tuesday, March 13. "I can tell you this: I know (club owner) Jim Pohlad is committed to this team and committed to winning because he just proved it."
TAMPA, Fla.—Twins left fielder Eddie Rosario, dealing with right triceps tendinitis, said he still hasn't been cleared to resume throwing but continues to improve and hoped to return in a DH role in a few days. "I'm a little bit hurt but I want to try to be 100 percent for the season," Rosario said Monday, March 12. "I feel better every day. Twins manager Paul Molitor, however, said Rosario's progress has only been "fair" as his absence has dragged on since his last game appearance on March 4.
TAMPA, Fla.—So much for letting Lance Lynn ease into his new surroundings. Shortly after the veteran right-hander passed his two-day physical exam on Monday, March 12, making official his one-year, $12 million contract, the Twins announced he would make his debut Tuesday, March 13, at home against the Baltimore Orioles. That will come 2 1/2 hours after the former all-star and two-time pennant winner with the St. Louis Cardinals meets the media in an introductory news conference.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Joe Mauer received confirmation of the latest big Twins addition on Saturday evening, March 10, via text message from Logan Morrison, his teammate for less than two weeks. Former St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn had agreed to terms on a one-year, $12 million deal with the Twins, pending a physical Sunday and Monday, according to a person with direct knowledge. Morrison, Lynn's workout partner at Cressey Sports Performance in Jupiter, Fla., couldn't wait to share the news with Mauer.