Nick Punto made it official Thursday: He're retired.
It was a nice career. He squeezed 14 big league seasons out of his ability. His lack of power made him consistently a below-league average hitter, and his fielding chops kept him on rosters and in lineups.
It was an odd thing: Every time the Twins went into a season planning on Punto holding a specific infield slot, that plan turned sour. When they turned to him in midseason to fill a slot after somebody else failed, he thrived. 2006, when he took over third base after Tony Batista flopped. 2008, when he took over shortstop from Adam Everett. 2009, when he supplanted Alexi Casilla at second base and put up a .406 on-base percentage in September.
Punto was a better Plan B than a Plan A.
I commented the other day about Brian Duensing's inability to find a team. On Thursday the Kansas City Royals announced that they had signed him to a minor league contract.
The defending World Series champs have, as we all know, a pretty deep bullpen of power arms. But those power arms are right-handed. Duensing has a decent chance to land a roster spot there. And if he does, he'll be mates again with his fellow Nebraska alum and pal Alex Gordon.
Duensing doubtless was holding out for a major-league roster spot. He didn't get it. But he landed, in short, in as good a spot as he could have asked for this close to training camp.