Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.

The Twins are thinking of sending Miguel Sano down


The Twins are reportedly considering sending Miguel Sano down. Why? He’s slumping lately and his defense has been poor. Which, well, his defense is always going to be poor. Twins manager Paul Molitor, however talks about it as a big picture issue:

“I think it goes along the lines with young players who get to the big leagues and they either subconsciously, or their agents, someone’s telling them they’ve got everything figured out and go enjoy the life,” Molitor said. “It’s contrary to what’s real in terms of you don’t want to ever get too comfortable. And there are other guys we’ve had discussions with as young players to keep their focus on how they got here, why they’re here and [doing] what they need to do to stay here.”

Given how much the Twins have jerked Sano around I think it’s a bit much to put all of this on his maturity or complacency or whatever it is Molitor is not so subtly implying here. He’s basically a natural DH but the Twins moved him to right field, which seemed doomed before he even played there, and are now trying him at third base. That’s not likely to work either. Sano has a great arm, but his glove and defensive instincts are just not cut out for anyplace but maybe first base and the Twins already have a third baseman.

His recent slump aside, Sano has been a decent hitter this year and he certainly showed last year that he’s capable of doing damage at the big league level. While he won’t be playing first base as long as Joe Mauer is around, just putting him at DH and letting him do the one thing we know he can be good at seems like a good idea. I realize it’s hard for a lot of people to get their mind around a 23-year-old becoming a full-time DH, but it has happened.

Indeed, if the Twins had gotten their heads around that concept in the early 2000s, the past several years may have looked very different for the organization.

Jordan Zimmermann’s MRI comes back clean


Good news for the Tigers as the MRI on Jordan Zimmermann‘s right lat came back clean.

The Tigers tarter returned from his neck injury yesterday but got shellacked, allowing six runs in one and two-thirds innings while featuring lower than normal velocity. It appears, however, that he doesn’t have any structural damage. Zimmermann will throw a bullpen session Sunday and at that point the Tigers will determine whether he needs to go back on the disabled list.

James Shields does not care for the comments of the Padres owner

Getty Images

James Shields pitches for the White Sox now. Mostly because he didn’t pitch well for the Padres and they shipped him out. That’s fine, of course, it’s a game and a business and stuff happens.

Shields, however, is not at all happy with Padres owner Ron Fowler, who yesterday blasted his team’s expensive former players. Shields wasn’t mentioned by name, but it was clear that he was one of the ones Fowler was referring to when he said “We made a conscious decision to ship them out because we want people that are prepared to improve,” and “they had a bad attitude.”

Shields spoke to CSN and said this:

“(Ron Fowler and Matt Kemp) have their own deal and he has his own thoughts about him, so I’m not going to comment on that. But one thing I do know is, I hope he’s not putting me in that category as far as not trying. You can ask anybody around the league, let alone in the San Diego organization — I worked my butt off every single day. I prepared myself the way I needed to prepare myself on a daily basis. And I pour my heart out every time I pitch on the mound.”

I think that’s the distinction. The effort. Shields would probably be the first guy to tell you that, no, he didn’t get the job done with the Padres. But there’s a difference between poor performance and poor effort and attitude. If Fowler said that Shields just stunk, Shields would likely agree. Saying he wasn’t “prepared to improve” and had a “bad attitude” is something with which he understandably takes offense.

Then again, maybe Shields is just lying. Maybe he was truly doing something terrible. Like golfing. If that’s the case, I’m going to applaud Fowler for his restraint.