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The Bleacher Bums: June 15, 2006 Archive

The JOY of Youth!!!!

Posted at 9:29 AM on June 15, 2006 by David Zingler (8 Comments)

Although itís only been a three game winning streak and the team is still double digit games out of first place, there seems to be a real sense of optimism about the Twins. The main reason for that is youth. Justin Morneau (25) is finally looking like the power hitter weíve been waiting for since Bill Clintonís first term (how about hitting him clean-up??), Joe Mauer (23) is becoming the 21st Century version of Kirby Puckett, Jason Kubel (24) looks like an everyday player with a high ceiling, Jason Bartlett (26) has replaced Tony Batista on the roster and last, but not least, Francisco Liriano (22) is pushing Johan Santana to another level (if thatís possible).

Santana meanwhile, at 27, is hardly an old man and Michel Cuddyer (also 27) is finally showing us why he was a #1 draft pick and top prospect. So, letís dump Rondell White, trade Shannon Stewart, shop Torii Hunter and let the kids play. These Twins are all about the future Ė with Stewart, Hunter and Brad Radkeís sizable salaries likely off the books next year, Terry Ryan should have a little money to play with this off-season. Oh yeah and, if you havenít already heard, thereís also a new stadium on the way...

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Demoted for an out

Posted at 10:47 AM on June 15, 2006 by Ben Tesch

Report: ChiSox rookie demoted for not hitting Blalock
White Sox rookie pitcher Sean Tracey got into hot water with his manager Ozzie Guillen -- for getting an out.

Tracey was summoned to start the seventh inning and got Hank Blalock to ground out, but getting an out might not have been the reason Tracey was brought into the game. White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski was hit by two pitches in the game and a source told the Chicago Sun-Times that Tracey was told to hit Blalock as retaliation. Tracey threw two inside pitches to Blalock before getting him to ground out.

After getting the out, Tracey was removed from the game. Guillen slammed a water bottle to the ground when Blalock grounded out and the manager then brought Agustin Montero into pitch. Guillen was then seen in the dugout barking at Tracey, who pulled the collar of his jersey over his head.

Letting them play.

Posted at 11:28 PM on June 15, 2006 by Josh Lee (1 Comments)

Batista's gone, and now so is Juan Castro. I suspect that if a team came along and offered a prospect for Rondell White, Terry Ryan would probably be willing to listen. When your team decides to start dumping veterans and let the kids play, that usually means that the towel has been thrown in for the year, and that the priority for the club has shifted from winning to development. It usually follows that the priority for the fans must shift accordingly, from looking for immediate gratification (and being disappointed) to looking for signs of life, signs that your feckless young players might someday develop into real professional athletes. This usually leads to statements like: "Well, we lost by six runs, but we only committed three errors!" It's all about seeing the glass as one-quarter full.

But not with this group of kids. Liriano, Cuddyer, Kubel, Bartlett: all the players we've been waiting for are here, and it doesn't look like they're going to get yo-yoed up and down between the majors and minors anymore, because putting them into the game is not so much an act of resignation as it is of straight-up improving your team. Case in point: tonight's 5-3 win over the Red Sox. The Twins had the lead, but there was an annoying paucity of grand slams, and Carlos Silva had to cut short one of those quietly efficient games we loved him for last year, leaving the mound with hamstring problems in the 7th. Then the Red Sox started chipping away at the Twins' lead, even after Nathan came on to bid for a two-inning save. Two weeks ago, I would have been biting my nails down to the quick, a feeling of dread twisting my gut into knots. Tonight, though, my gut was strangely calm; I was actually confident that Minnesota would be able to fend of a Boston rally and complete the series sweep. And they did! They even added an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th, and when's the last time you saw that happen? It's like watching a whole new team, one that actually hits strike pitches and attempts to defend on the left side of the infield.

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