Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Daryl Van Schouwen and Chris De Luca

The Twins are coming!

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joemauersi.jpgNot only are the Minnesota Twins coming off a Central Division title, but they also enter 2010 with a new organizational philosophy - at least a richer one.
With a new ballpark has come a new payroll, starting with the news before the season that they signed the face of the club - Joe Mauer - to an eight-year, $184-million contract.
So not only do the Sox have to stress about facing a team that has fundamentally out-baseballed them over much of the last decade, but one that now seems poised to spend more money to add to the product if need be.
"This is a business and more money to work with when you're putting teams together is a good thing,'' team captain Paul Konerko said. "Other teams have proven that more money to spend isn't always a good thing if you don't get the right guys, but I just think the Twins, one thing I always respected about them is they have made moves on the character of the guy. I'm sure they're going to keep that at the forefront.
"The Twins are good, there's no doubt. As a member of the White Sox what do you expect? There's not going to be a division that you just walk through without any resistance. I've won a couple divisions since I've been here, won a World Series, and it's never easy. We've gotten them a couple of times, they've gotten us more times, but we've also won a World Series here, where the group we've played against there hasn't done that. There's a give and take to it all.''
As far as who Konerko sees taking it this year?
"They won the division last year and they haven't taken a step backwards, so they're the team to beat,'' Konerko said.
A division title at stake isn't the only intriguing storyline this year, however. Minnesota signed free agent Jim Thome in the offseason, shortly after manager Ozzie Guillen made the decision to pass on the veteran DH.
Konerko, who is good friends with Thome and his family, was with the slugger when the Twins talk started, and admittedly will be torn seeing Thome in the opposing dugout tonight.
"I was kind of with Jim the week before, and kind of had the inside knowledge on it,'' Konerko recalled. "So I kind of knew where he was going to go, who had interest in him. Gave me time to brace myself. At that point in the offseason you care about your friends, people that you like, who people play for is all secondary. You want to see people get what they want. When it comes to your friends you pull for what they want. The fact that it was the Twins, I wasn't like, 'Jim, don't sign with the Twins.' I wanted to see him play, and we'll deal with it when he gets here [tonight].''
Thome will be welcomed back with open arms from all his former teammates. And then, hopefully beaten.
"I want him to have the best end of his career that he can have,'' catcher A.J. Pierzynski added. "I just hope he finishes in second.''

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2 Comments

As a Twins fan, I'm really excited about this season. It looks to me like it will be Twins-Sox battling it out for the Central (barring catastrophic injuries on either side).

After watching 4 games with the White Sox, all I can say is this team is on the exact course as last years team. Poor clutch hitting and TOO MANY strikeouts. Don't go blaming the pitching staff, go blame Greg Walker. There are 2 types of hitters in baseball.... aggressive offensive hitters and plain defensive hitters. When you watch the Twins hitters at the plate, you put a pitch in the wrong place and they hit the ball hard, all of them. While watching the Sox hitters, I see to many hitters taking pitches they should be swinging at and pitches they should be taking. Point in case.... Andrew Jones came to the plate on Thursday nite, looked at 3 pitches and walked back to the dugout. PRODUCTIVE at bats, simple as that!! They need a hitting coach that can put the hitters in a positive, aggressive mental approach as they step into the batters box. I don't see this now. As I see it, once a hitter steps into the batters box, every pitcher may give you 1 or 2 cookies to hit. If you begin taking these pitches, now you are at the mercy of the pitcher, and a defensive hitter. This is where I see the Sox hitters, taking too many good pitches and swinging at junk and pitches that are not strikes. In other words, getting themselves out. As these are Major Leauge hitters, that see Major Leauge pitches day in and day out, it's hard for me to comprehend that watching a pitch sailing towards the plate, 60'6" away, that they have a horrible time distinguishing that that pitch will hit the dirt or cross the heart of the plate. What are you looking for?? I don't care if its the 1st pitch or whatever, if it's in your wheelhouse why are you not swinging at it? Lets learn the strike zone! If this continues to happen, see you next year!

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Cowley published on April 8, 2010 9:03 PM.

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