Torii Hunter visits the ballpark he helped build

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When I read the intro to this story about Torii Hunter’s return to Minnesota in today’s L.A. Times, I was prepared to scoff at yet another strange Torii Hunter statement: Target Field is “The House That Torii Built.”  Ha! Put this alongside “Dominicans are imposters” and “Kirby Puckett moved off centerfield for me.” The usual Hunter weirdness.

But (a) Hunter didn’t say that Target Field was “The House that Hunter Built,” the writer came up with that construction; and (b) even if he did say it, he wouldn’t be all wrong.

Unless you’re a Twins guy like Gleeman it’s easy to forget now how dire the ballclub’s straits were in the late 90s and early oughts. The threat of contraction seemed very real at the time. And even if you didn’t think it would happen, it certainly felt like Twins baseball was on life support in many important ways.

As the article notes, however, a crop of young players — not the least of which was Torii Hunter — helped revitalize the team and restore winning baseball to the Twin Cities. That, in turn, helped generate excitement which, in turn, led to the construction of what by all accounts is a wonderful ballpark.

Torii Hunter says a lot of crazy stuff. He wouldn’t be wrong, however, if he said that he had a hell of a lot to do with the construction of Target Field.

Aaron Judge underwent left shoulder surgery

AP Photo/Bill Kostroun
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The Yankees announced on Tuesday that outfielder Aaron Judge underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left shoulder, aiming to remove loose bodies and clean up cartilage. Judge is expected to be fully recovered by the time spring training begins in February.

Judge, 25, injured his shoulder on a slide in the second half, though he consistently denied that it bothered him. He slumped heavily, batting just .179 with seven home runs in 191 plate appearances between July 14 and August 31.

Judge still wound up taking home AL Rookie of the Year honors and finished second in AL Most Valuable Player Award balloting. Overall, he hit .284/.422/.627 with 52 home runs, 114 RBI, and 128 runs scored in 678 trips to the plate.