Posted at 12:45 PM on June 6, 2007
by David Zingler
In 2001, Cristian Guzman looked like a budding superstar. The lightening fast triple machine was the catalyst of the resurgent Twins offense and in the midst of an All Star season. By 2004 however, his triples total had fallen from 20 to 4 and his command of the strike zone seemed to regress as the years went on. When the Dominican singed a lucrative free agent contract with the Washington Nationals prior to the 2005 season, the collective reply from Twins Territory was “Good Riddance!”
If his fall from grace in Minnesota wasn’t dramatic enough, Guzman really bottomed out in Washington. In 2005, he hit .219/.260/.314 in 142 games before missing all of the 2006 season with a shoulder injury. But, just when you thought the enigmatic shortstop had gone the way of Luis Rivas or Joe Mays, he made comeback.
After missing much of April with a hamstring injury, Guzman returned on May 7 and looks to have re-gained his old form (or at least something close to it). In 27 games, the erstwhile Twin is hitting .324/.368/.472 with 5 triples. It’s perfect timing for the 29-year-old; the Nats come to town this weekend. It will be interesting to see how the crowd reacts to his first visit to the Dome as an opponent. Will they remember the young, exciting Guzman streaking across the mold-green Metrodome turf or the sluggish underachiever who played his way out of town?