Posted at 5:30 PM on April 30, 2009
by David Zingler
With Alexi Casilla (.174) and Nick Punto (.228) struggling, Brendan Harris looks to have an opening. The 28-year-old infielder is hitting .350 in 40 at-bats, making him one of only five players (Morneau, Span, Kubel and Morales) to provide any meaningful offensive production in April.
Harris, a .272 career hitter, has a chance to become a mainstay in the Twins line-up at second base and/or shortstop. I sat down with the Albany, NY native before Tuesday's game.
DZ: You've gotten off to a good start this year. Being a guy who has moved around a lot, how was the vibe different this year coming into your second season (with the Twins)?
HARRIS: It's pretty much the same crew of guys. It was a little easier, a little more continuity even though the role is a little different where I am bouncing around (to different positions). It's always easier the second time in the system.
DZ: You mentioned your role. Did you know coming into the season what your role was going to be?
HARRIS: It had changed since the first day we signed Joe (Crede). I kind of expect that going in. After spring training got going, I knew I'd be bouncing around a little bit.
DZ: Did they talk to you about playing firstbase; is that something you might do?
HARRIS: I did in spring training, days when a lefty was going and they were going to DH Morny. I played over there a few times in spring training.
DZ: What's it like playing all the different positions (2B, 3B, SS), it's hard enough to play one position well...
HARRIS: You get used to it. You've got to get your work in; get out there and take balls (at different positions in practice), be consistent and get familiar with it. The approach I always take is that if I am playing defense and I keep my feet moving, I'll be all right.
DZ: You probably wear the same glove at second and short, do you switch it up for thirdbase?
HARRIS: No, I like to keep the same one.
DZ: What is your favorite position?
HARRIS: Shortstop, second; I've always like to play in the middle.
DZ: How much different is it playing third (versus 2B and SS)?
HARRIS: Your range is cut down a little bit, just being closer...Your set-up during the pre-pitch motion has got to be lower because you don't have much time to react.
DZ: Being on team like the Twins, even when you're on the bench, you know you're going to get in there - you won't be sitting for a week or two straight. Does that kind of help keep your spirits up?
HARRIS: Yeah. Gardy says everybody is going to get a chance and he likes to use his whole roster. It gives you incentive to stay ready and keep working hard.
DZ: You know if you get hits, you are going to stay in (the line-up).
HARRIS: Yeah. If you put it together, he'll ride you for a little bit.
(Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
Posted at 4:12 PM on April 30, 2009
by Chris Dall
I hate the fact that I'm writing this. I really do. But Brett Favre's carefully-worded statement about his "retirement" just leaves the question out there. Is Favre in the Vikings' future? And do you want him to be.
Coming off of a terrific 2007 season, Favre very much looked like a good fit for the Vikings when he started making noise about coming out of retirement last summer. But the 2008, New York Jet version of Brett Favre did not look like the same player, and he really started to show his age down the stretch, especially when the weather got cold. Based on last year's performance, and a shoulder injury that still needs to be corrected, I'd say Favre should stay on his tractor.
But then you look at the Vikings 2009 schedule and you see that they'll be playing 11 games in a climate-controlled environment. And the fact that, with Adrian Peterson, Favre wouldn't be expected to be the hero. Finally, a decrepit Brett Favre is arguably still better than the Vikings current options at quarterback.
I personally think Favre is done, and should stay retired. But I'm more interested in how Vikings fans would react to the thought of him in a Viking uniform. My brother-in-law, a lifeling Viking fan and season ticket-holder, said to me last season that if given the choice between winning the Super Bowl with Favre or not making the playoffs without him, he'd choose the latter. I think there are many Vikings fans who share that sentiment.
Whatever happens, you can be sure that Favre will milk this for all it's worth.