FORT MYERS, Fla. — Twins spring training is officially underway, with every invited catcher and all but 2 Twins pitchers in their assigned places. Camp Rocco 2.0, commence.
This column is just a collection of things I noted throughout the day. It’s a working title.
*Fernando Romero is not in Fort Myers yet. He’s dealing with a visa issue after traveling back to camp. I was told that he’s the lone Twins pitcher not currently in the state of Florida.
*Kenta Maeda, the other Twins pitcher late to arrive, flew in to Fort Myers on Wednesday and is expected in camp on Thursday, the multiple Twins people said.
*Today I also learned that Kenta Maeda flies private.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) February 12, 2020
*This I didn’t know: The Twins targeted Maeda at the beginning of the winter, well before the Mookie Betts + David Price trade made the Dodgers willing to move a win-now starting pitcher. Once Price came into the picture, the Dodgers then became willing to listen.
*Rich Hill is in camp, and he’s underway with his throwing program. He wasn’t doing pitcher’s fielding drills on Day 1, as he’s targeting a mid-summer return to the MLB mound.
*I tracked down an official Twins spring invite list today and there was one interesting number nugget: Mitch Garver is changing from No. 18 to No. 8. Maeda apparently wanted to have 18, and Garver says he was willing to give it to him.
Sorry to the fans who bought an #18 jersey recently. Kenta really wants that number and if that is what it takes for him to feel comfortable and be his best I’m all in. Go Twins!
— GarvSauce (@MitchGarver) February 12, 2020
*Among Twins instructors today: Johan Santana, Joe Nathan and Bert Blyleven.
The best closer in Twins history, the best starting pitcher in Twins history … and Bert!
*The Twins are projected to win 93 games, according to PECOTA.
The game is not played on paper, they say, but that’s a heartening projection if you’re a Twins fan. In short it means they’ll be really good and have a high probability of winning the division for the second consecutive year.
*Here’s my interview with Twins President of Baseball Ops, Derek Falvey:
*The Twins are using these force plates this spring. They help get readings on the mound and for hitters, too. In the photo below, Nick Gordon would swing at air using his normal motion while Twins coaches looked on. They’d gather to read the data on the screen off to the side, with the idea of tightening the feedback loop.
More on that tool later, I’m sure.
— Derek Wetmore (@DerekWetmore) February 12, 2020