Playoff weather in Minnesota: what are we dealing with here?

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It took less than ten hours from the time the Twins clinched last night until I saw the first blogger make a joke about how funny it will be to see World Series games snowed out in Minnesota.  And really, we’ve been hearing that ever since the first roofless ballpark plans were drawn up for Target Field.

Is there reason for concern? Does Joe Mauer have to worry more about snowblindness than his wonky knee? Will Delmon Young be able to field his position with a North Face Summit Series 800-fill goose down jacket under his jersey?

We’ve covered this before, but let me reiterate: No. There’s no reason to worry. No reason over an above the worry we should always have about such things, anyway. Sure, freak weather can happen in the fall in the upper Midwest, but it can happen anywhere, as the Phillies and Rays learned a couple of years ago.  But the average highs and lows in Minneapolis for late October and early November — while a tad chillier than we’re used to in the playoffs — are not so far removed from the norms in New York or Philly that we should make a big deal about it.

National Weather Service data from 1971-2000 reveals the average highs in Minneapolis range between 57 and 46 degrees for the period covering October 20th through November 5th. Average lows: 32-37.  Average precipitation of any kind .07 inches. The same numbers in Philly: highs 64-58; lows 47-43, precip .08-.10. New York: highs 63-57; lows 49-45, precip..10-.12. Denver: highs 64-56; lows 34-27, precip .03-.04.

Yes, it’s colder in Minneapolis than it is in New York and Philly, but it’s not so extreme that we should freak out about it. If the Rockies make it in we should worry about the Denver weather far more, I think. Partially because of the cold, but also because we all can remember some October Denver Broncos Monday Night Football game going on in a blizzard.

Snow could happen, because snow can always happen. But there’s a decent chance that we’ll get some run of the mill nice fall days turning into chilly, but not unpleasantly chilly, fall nights, even if the Twins make the World Series.

Evan Gattis undergoes surgery for hernia; recovery is 4-6 weeks

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Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle shares the bad news

One of the Astros’ big bats won’t be taking hacks when the Astros hold their first full workout on Feb. 23.

Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis recently underwent surgery to repair a hernia, the Chronicle has learned, taking away most of his spring training at a minimum. The recovery is four to six weeks but fortunately for Gattis and the Astros, the injury is not considered severe.

Gattis was working hard on his overall conditioning this winter, even telling MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart in late January that he had already dropped 18 pounds. It appears the big man might have gone a bit overboard on those workouts, and now he is in real danger of missing the first couple weeks of the 2016 regular season.

Gattis batted .246/.285/.463 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI in 153 games last season for the Astros. The 29-year-old is arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career and has a hearing with the Astros scheduled for February 16 to determine his salary for 2016. He requested $3.8 million and was offered $3 million when figures were exchanged a little over three weeks ago.

Suddenly the Astros’ front office might have a new talking point for those arbitrators.

Seung-Hwan Oh finally receives his work visa, will be on time for Cardinals camp

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At last check, new Cardinals reliever Seung-Hwan Oh was still awaiting a work visa from the United States Embassy in South Korea and there was some worry that he might not be able to arrive on time to spring training in Jupiter, Florida.

But that is now officially a non-story.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Oh has recieved his work visa and is expected to report to Cardinals camp next week along with the rest of the club’s pitchers and catchers. Oh might even show up a bit earlier than the Cardinals originally asked him to, per Goold.

Oh saved 357 games in 11 seasons between Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball and the Korea Baseball Organization before inking a one-year contract with St. Louis this winter. He also registered a stellar 1.81 ERA and 772 strikeouts across 646 total innings in Asia, earning the nickname “The Final Boss.”

Oh is expected to work in a setup role this year for Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal.

John Lamb had back surgery in December, will likely get off to late start in 2016

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John Lamb was part of the Reds’ return package in last July’s Johnny Cueto trade and he had a strong showing at the Triple-A level in 2015. But the young left-hander posted a 5.80 ERA in a 10-start cup of coffee with Cincinnati late last season — his first 10 appearances as a major leaguer — and now comes word from MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon that Lamb will probably have to get off to a late start in 2016.

Lamb underwent surgery in December to repair a herniated disc in his back — a surgery that went unreported by the Reds until Tuesday afternoon. Reds manager Bryan Price acknowledged on MLB Network that Lamb is behind the team’s other starting pitchers and will likely open the coming season on the disabled list. The hope is that he might be ready by mid-April.

It’s a small but frustrating blow for a rebuilding Reds team that will be looking to establish some foundational pieces in 2016. Once he is recovered, Lamb will be expected to fill the Reds’ fifth rotation spot behind Raisel Iglesias, Anthony DeSclafani, Brandon Finnegan, and Michael Lorenzen.

This is going to be an ugly year for Cincinnati baseball fans.

Yu Darvish will report to spring training on time, hopes to begin mound work in March

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Rangers ace Yu Darvish missed the entire 2015 season after undergoing Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery last March 17. Most starting pitchers take 13-15 months to fully recover from that procedure, and the Rangers aren’t counting on Darvish until sometime this May.

His rehab so far has gone on without issue.

Darvish offered some very positive updates Tuesday to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram …

Darvish, 29, boasts a 3.27 ERA and 1.196 WHIP in 83 career major league starts. He can also claim a whopping 680 strikeouts in 545 1/3 career major league innings.

Texas has him under contract for $10 million in 2016 and $11 million in 2017.