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Torrid Torii

Posted at 10:53 AM on May 1, 2007 by Chris Dall

It’s been an eventful month for Torii Hunter. There was the Jackie Robinson controversy. The KC champagne fiasco. Getting beaned by Royals pitcher Zach Greinke. But through it all, Torii has gotten off to a great start. His .326 batting average is well above his career average of .270, and his .352 obp is nearly 30 points higher than his career average. With Morneau and Mauer performing as expected, and Michael Cuddyer continuing to blossom, the middle of the Twins lineup is looking more like sharks than piranhas.

If Torii can keep this pace up, he’ll likely have a career year, fitting for a guy who’ll be 32 in July. Oh, and there’s also the fact it’s his contract year. So what do you do if you’re Twins GM Terry Ryan? Let’s just throw out the possibility that the team may look to deal Hunter at the trading deadline. I doubt that will happen. But do they resign him for a Johnny Damon-type contract, which he’ll most likely want? It’s difficult to see that as well.

I’ve never considered Torii an elite player, at least not offensively, but with his defense and leadership, he’s clearly an important figure on this team. The Twins need to decide just how important he is.

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