Things really can't get much worse for the Twins. Really. The flu bug has infected a good portion of the team, Joe Mauer may or may not resume baseball activities in the foreseeable future, and our "ace" Francisco Liriano has been one of the least effective starting pitchers in baseball. The list goes on (Casilla not being a good baseball player, Thome injured, Delmon Young talking himself onto the DL and possibly out of Minnesota), and on (Nick Blackburn walking a lot of batters and not being a good pitcher when we need it). Thankfully, Kubel and Span have been bright spots.
I wish we knew more about the injuries. When the President of the United States has his annual physical, the results are released to the public. We know all the details, even the gross ones. I don't expect the same level of transparency from the Twins, as we don't have a right to know and they don't want to reduce any perceived competitive advantage, but I do expect more than the media and fans have been given. It wasn't until yesterday's brief press conference that we knew that Joe Mauer was still alive, and in Minnesota, and still has that gorgeous head of hair. Thanks again for that, Head & Shoulders. He's the face of the franchise: he has to step up, take his lumps, and answer questions related to his mysterious injuries. Kirby and Torii were always available to the media. Think about the questions Derek Jeter has faced this year about his contract details, icy relationship with Brian Cashman and declining production. He sits there and answers every single one, day in and day out. Mauer, the MLB veteran, should no longer be handled with kid gloves. Frankly, it was nice to see Jim Souhan at the Star Tribune use his column to essentially make this point.
Further, Ron Gardenhire has no place snapping at reporters that are asking questions about these injuries. The media is doing its job, and is finally asking some pretty pointed questions - - questions that fans want answered. I'm not going to blame Gardy for much of this injury stuff, and I recognize that some of it is unknown/untold to him, but as the manager he's ultimately responsible for the team and should, when asked, share as much information as possible.
Things really cannot get much worse. The calendar is about to turn to May, the weather will get warmer (maybe that means Delmon will be able to get loose?), and inevitably some of the guys in the lineup will begin producing. The question is whether, when those things happen, we will be 7 or 17 games out of first place?
A few links:
North Dakota Twins Fan has a good rundown of Mauer's mysterious leg injury.
K-Bro's Baseball Blog reports on Delmon's injury, as well as the other (approximate) 45 ailments hampering the Twins.
Andrew at Off the Mark analyzes Liriano's pretty awful 2011 and his struggles to pitch to contact.