Last night I actually watched the All-Star game. More precisely, I glanced up at the TV every once in awhile while playing games on my phone. It was boring...except the Timberlake interview which was decidedly awkward and amusing. I thought it was fitting that the respective leaders in the MVP-race for each league hit homeruns. The NL pitching dominated, though to be fair the AL was sans Sabathia, Price, Hernandez, Lester, etc. It's a shame that this game actually decides something. Oh well.
Now that the All-Star game is mercifully over, I'm looking forward to two things: a) Chris Berman being used strictly for Monday Night Football purposes and b) the 'second-half'. I think the Twins have a legitimate shot to make up for their horrible start and I'm excited to see how they play in these first few games post-All-Star-break. I'm excited for a 12-game homestand. I'm excited to see if Delmon Young can find his sea-legs again and help carry the load a little. I'm excited to see what happens if the Twins pull even closer to the Tigers and Indians by the end of the month. Yes, our beloved Twins are 6.5 games out of first, but the gap doesn't seem that large.
To quickly update the Twins injuries:
Scott Baker is in line to make his next start on Monday, July 18th against the Indians. His MRI last week showed only a minor flexor strain so hopefully he will be able to pick up right where he left off.
Delmon Young was activated and will start tomorrow against the Royals. He had a nice 9-game rehab stint at Triple-A, seeing 5 of his 9 hits (31 at-bats) go for extra bases including 2HRs.
Kevin Slowey threw 4.2 innings of scoreless baseball at Triple-A last Sunday with 3Ks and 1BB. He will pitch in one more rehab start coming up this week. According to Ron Gardenhire the Twins have no plans to call him up once he's ready, which really makes absolutely ZERO sense to me. At the very least he could be used in the bullpen and in my opinion, he deserves strong consideration for a rotation spot which would give the Twins the option of putting Brian Duensing in the bullpen as a left-handed specialist or long-reliever. Wasting Kevin Slowey's talent in Triple-A is just plain stupid.
Jason Kubel continues to rehab his injured foot and is probably still another 10-15 days away...and that's if things go well. He's expected to start in some rehab games at Fort Meyers here over the next few days, but there is no concrete rehab schedule at this point.
Denard Span will be meeting with doctors (perhaps today) in hopes of receiving clearance to start a rehab assignment. He ran the bases and worked out hard this past weekend and reported no symptoms. If cleared, he will probably need about 7-10 rehab games before he comes off the DL.
Update 12:03pm CDT: According to D-Span's twitter feed, he was cleared to begin a rehab assignment today, great news!
Justin Morneau is still on doctor-ordered post-surgery rest, but could resume light baseball activity here in the next week or so. His target for a return is mid-August, which may be slightly optimistic but, if true, could prove quite valuable to the Twins if they can stay in contention until then. Positive word from him is that his wrist has been feeling much better lately and continued rest will hopefully allow it to fully heal.
Whew, I think that's it in terms of injuries. Jim Thome has been dealing with a sprained toe, but it doesn't seem like anything a few days rest won't take care of. Injuries have been the main storyline for the Twins this season, but it looks like (fingers crossed) the Twins may finally be getting closer to "healthy" here in the next 2-3 weeks.
Some Interesting Reading Around the Twins Blogosphere (and elsewhere):
Nate Gilmore over at Puckett's Pond gave the Twins a first-half report card of sorts. I can't say I disagree with any of his marks.
Corey Ettinger put together an AL Central All-Star team with a little bit of justification for each selection. There aren't many Twins players in the bunch but then again, they haven't had that many stand-out players yet this season.
Nick Nelson wrote a good piece comparing this year's team to the 2003 Twins team that was in a similar situation at the All-Star break and went on to win the division. Hope seems to be running high again in Twins Territory and damn it, it feels good.
TT over at Granny Baseball is going through a series of posts explaining statistics. So far they've done BABIP, K/9 and IP. Nothing super in-depth here, but it's a nice primer for people looking to better their understanding of baseball statistics. What's odd about these posts is that Granny Baseball has been a very anti-sabermetrics blog...
The Common Man and Bill over at The Platoon Advantage had an interesting read about the number of players selected to the All-Star game.
And finally, Deadspin had a good read today about the 100 Worst Baseball Players of All-Time. It's interesting to see a lot of pretty good managers high on that list including Tommy Lasorda, Billy Martin and Ozzie Guillen. This is the first installment of the list.