- Joe Mauer injury update:
Well, there’s no Mauer news just yet, but it appears that he and Joe Nathan have been cleared to participate in some light baseball-related activities:
Come to think of it, maybe this is how they both got injured in the first place.
There’s still no news. as of 9pm tonight. I’m starting to really get worried. The Star Tribune is reporting that the doctors and the FO are conferring over what to do, so it doesn’t look good. Oh Lordy, I’ve already suffered enough disappointment with teams from Minnesota this year. I certainly don’t need any more.
- Nick Punto should be fine, or at least his elbow will be
Apparently there isn’t anything wrong with Little Nicky’s elbow. Team doctors re-examined the X-rays he had taken in Toronto, and determined that nothing is broken. Most of the swelling has subsided in the joint, and is tentatively scheduled to start in today’s game against the Yankees. Little Nicky has gotten off to a very slow start this spring, with a .100/.100/.100 in ten plate appearances, and wasn’t very effective for Team Italy in the WBC, either (he was 0-for-12). Normally I wouldn’t be all that concerned about a guy’s performance in spring training games, but Punto gives me several reasons to worry. First of all, he’s thirty-one years old and probably reached his peak offensively last season (it was pretty much his career year, after all). As I have mentioned before, his bat has a tendency to get cold whenever he’s guaranteed a starting job, and he is now the everyday SS after signing that two-year deal in December. Obviously a lineup with Punto and without Mauer isn’t going to make opposing pitchers lose any sleep.
- What happened to Team USA?
Some of these WBC games have been very close nail-biters between some of the best pitchers in the world. This, however, was not one of them. The Puerto Ricans slaughtered the USA 11-1 in seven innings, after which the mercy rule was invoked and everyone was put out of their misery (including those of us who were watching this crap). So what went so horribly wrong? Well, apparently the American pitchers (Jake Peavy in particular) forgot how to record outs. And the American hitters forgot how to drive in runs, or even get on base. I guess the coaching was really bad, too. I mean, really, if your pitcher gives up six runs in two innings, shouldn’t you pull the guy?
The worst part about this whole thing is that Jake Peavy was shown up by Javier Vazquez. Who says Javy isn’t a big-game pitcher?
The United States now has the same record in round two as the Netherlands. Like their Dutch counterparts, the next game is do-or-die for the American team. Unlike the Dutch, however, the US was heavily favored to win this thing. Team Hollandaise wasn’t expected to win a single game, let alone advance to the next round, so what they have accomplished so far is pretty remarkable. Even if it is the end of the line. Another early exit from the WBC would be an embarrassment for the US team, though, and might kill any chance that the American public will actually start taking the tournament seriously.
WildMild aren’t quite dead yet
Oh, they lost another must-win game at Dallas last night, but at least they showed some life for a change. Yes, they made a couple of bad plays that ended up costing them the game, but at least it was only two this time. For the most part they actually skated well. And they played with the sort of desperation a team that is, well, desperate to make the playoffs really needs. The Stars, who are also fighting for the last playoff spot, were just a little more desperate this time.
GM Doug Risebrough hasn’t been too happy with the team’s play as of late, either, and even said so yesterday. Of course, DR is the one who chose to do nothing at the trade deadline even though the team was clearly struggling. And he also let key contributors such as Brian Rolston walk without finding much in terms of a replacement. He was the one who decided to give jobs to unproven rookies like Colton Gillies (and guys who might as well be rookies like James Sheppard) who should really be in juniors right now and not getting their confidence shattered in the NHL. And he (probably) botched contract talks with the team’s leading scorer. So, you know, the players aren’t entirely to blame for this mess.
Despite dropping three straight OT games (apparently our boys don’t realize that an OT loss is still a loss), the Wild are not completely out of the Western Conference playoff picture. They are currently one point out of the eighth, and final spot (not that they really deserve a playoff berth, but that’s a different story). They have to play the second of back-to-back road games in St. Louis tonight. Ordinarily I would be glad to see the Blues on the schedule, since the Wild would most certainly win this game in the past. However, given the awful effort the team has put forth lately, I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if they lost. Again.
- Hey, at least somebody can win a game!
The Wolves beat the Bobcats 108-100 last night, which marks their 20th win of the season. Of course, they’re still 26 games below .500 and will most certainly finish with their fourth straight losing record, but at least they’ll probably surpass last year’s total of 22 wins. This win was just a little more satisfying because the Wolves may have just killed Charlotte’s playoff hopes. Way to go, guys! If you aren’t going to make the playoffs, at least you can take someone else down with you.