Monday, July 20, 2009

Notes, comments and a committment

The Twins tonight start a week-long West Coast swing. The reality of our current print deadlines is that we're unlikely to have game stories in the paper after the night games.

But I'll post commentary and a link to the AP game stories here after each of the night games, just as I did with last night's extra-inning affair.

*Guys who can make a living as pinch-hit specialists fascinate me. There have been quite a few of them in the 40 years that I've been following the game — Jose Morales (the first one, who played for the Twins in the Gene Mauch era), Terry Crowley, Lenny Harris, Mark Sweeney, Manny Mota come immediately to mind. Randy Bush milked an extra couple of years out of his career in the role.

Brian Buscher (above) looks to me like he has a chance to carve out such a niche. The man's career OBP as a pinch hitter is .500. Granted, it's only 32 plate appearances, but that's the kind of thing that can get a reputation. And reputation counts.

* A lot of contenders — including the Twins — had scouts at Roy Halladay's start Sunday. I'm guessing the Twins scout wasn't there to eyeball Doc. He was looking for bullpen arms. It wasn't a good day to see Toronto's relievers in action.

* A few weeks ago I suggested the Twins could target ground-ball machine Cla Meredith in their search for middle relief help. On Sunday the Padres traded him to Baltimore for a utility infield type named Oscar Salazar. Salazar appears to be a better hitter than the likes of Matt Tolbert and may well be a more valuable bargaining chip than any infield chip the Twins could reasonably offer. Still ...

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