Tag:Orlando Hudson
Posted on: May 3, 2011 3:32 pm
Edited on: May 3, 2011 4:00 pm
 

Orlando Hudson matches career high in SB already

By Evan Brunell

HudsonOn Monday, Orlando Hudson stole his 10th base, which matched his career high set last season and in 2007.

Safe to say that Hudson will be setting a new career high for stolen bases for the Padres.

What gives?

Quite simply, Hudson is on his first team that has actively encouraged him to take advantage of his speed on the basepaths. Often the No. 2 hitter, Hudson's running skills were marginalized in front of the power hitters as managers did not want him to run and risk an out.

"When you're hitting in front of [Carlos] Delgado and [Vernon] Wells, you're in scoring position when you get to first base," Hudson told the North County Times. "[Here] we get on and we just have to do what we can to get into scoring position. I like it. I like it a lot. I'm doing whatever I can to get that extra base."

There's no such qualms in San Diego, where runs have to be manufactured one base at a time and are loving Hudson's prowess as he's mastered the technical art of stealing bases which gives him an extra edge over players faster than him.

"He's probably been pretty aggressive his whole career and he hasn't lost that feel," bench coach Rick Renteria said. "We're not going to come down on you if you try to be aggressive and make a mistake. The reality is we're trying to gain some benefit from that risk that we're taking. But the risks we take are calculated. They're not just reckless. So if he has a feel for what's going on and knows can get the base, he's going to take it. He's been very aggressive at it and very good at it."

Hudson's lucky that he's added an extra dimension to his game because he isn't doing much outside of swiping bags. His OBP is a sterling .354 once you compare it to his .237 batting average and .290 slugging percentage, but he can't stay punchless for this long and continue to get on base at a good clip, at which point his stolen base frequency will taper off.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 13, 2011 9:37 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2011 11:24 pm
 

Is Reds' Chapman hurt?

Aroldis Chapman

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Could there be something wrong with Aroldis Chapman? Or is he just semi-human?

"We don't know," Dusty Baker told FSN Ohio after the game.

After he walked the first batter he faced on five pitches Wednesday against the Padres, the Reds sent out athletic trainer Paul Lessard and pitching coach Bryan Price to check on him. Chapman stayed in the game, but was then pulled after throwing out Jason Bartlett at third base on Orlando Hudson's sacrifice attempt.

There was no apparent injury, but Chapman's velocity was way down. How far down? His first pitch was 94 mph -- and it was his fastest pitch of the night. The last pitch he threw was clocked at 89 mph. All of nine of his pitches were called "changeups" by MLB.com's Gameday application.

"Chapman wasn't throwing like Chapman," Baker said after the game. "We went out and asked if he was doing OK and he said yes. [Catcher] Ramon [Hernandez] said he thought something was wrong. Chapman said he was OK, which is what they say in Cuban baseball. We took him out because he wasn't throwing like Chapman."

He has shown a tendency to slow down on consecutive nights, but he was also throwing less than 100 in Tuesday night's outing against the Padres. He threw one fastball 98 mph on Wednesday and then everything else was 94 mph or less. Wednesday's outing was his fourth in the last five days.

Before Wednesday's 3-2 loss, Baker said he wasn't worried.

"There's nothing to be alarmed about," Baker told reporters before Wednesday's game (via the Cincinnati Enquirer). "I've been saying the same thing when people want to see him everyday. He's gone three out of four days. If he goes two innings last night, it would have been even worse the second inning. We wouldn't have had him today. And there's a good chance that off day wouldn't help at all."

On Tuesday, Chapman was very good, striking out two in a perfect inning even without his peak velocity. Wednesday he only got one out and was charged with an unearned run. That run was the tying run, which led the to team's 3-2 loss to the Padres.

Maybe there's nothing wrong with Chapman -- who could be seen getting yelled at by Hernandez after a double switch took both out of the game in the eight inning -- and it's just showing his limitations, and perhaps the limitations of the human body. Chapman can throw harder the anyone in the world, but can he do it consistently?

He's already showed a big drop when used back-to-back days, but could he have to be used with even more rest to remain superhuman? That would hurt his chances of becoming the Reds' closer and also raises questions about his ability to start. 

Hernandez said he called out Price and Lessard because he thought Chapman looked tired.

"I told him, 'you know what, I know you want to go through it,'" Hernandez said (via the Cincinnati Enquirer). "I understand that You one of the main guys for seventh and eighth. ... if you have something sore, let them know. They'll give you one or two days off. It's better that you take two or three days.'"

"He was mad he came out the game. He's young. He'll learn. It's better to miss two or three days than a month."

I don't think anyone expects him to be pumping out 105 mph fastballs inning after inning as a starter, but the stark decrease in his velocity on Wednesday was certainly alarming.

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Posted on: April 3, 2011 11:56 am
Edited on: April 3, 2011 1:24 pm
 

Pepper: The amazing Ichiro

Ichiro Suzuki

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Edgar Martinez isn't in the Hall of Fame, but he has a heck of a case.

Martinez is one of eight players -- along with Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Stan Musical, Rogers Hornsby, Lou Gehrig, Manny Ramirez and Todd Helton -- to have 300 home runs, 500 doubles, a career .300 batting average, a career on-base percentage better than .400 and a career slugging higher than .500.

 The former Mariners designated hitter finished his career with a career 147 OPS+, while hitting .312 in 18 seasons. Martinez made seven All-Star teams and won five Silver Sluggers as a designated hitter.  In 2004, Major League Baseball renamed its Outstanding Designated Hitter Award for Martinez.

In short, Martinez was a phenomenal hitter.

And with 2,247 hits, Martinez had led all Mariners in career hits until Saturday night when Ichiro Suzuki broke his mark with two hits in the Mariners' 5-2 victory over the A's.

It took Martinez -- as we noted, one of the best hitters of his generation -- 18 seasons to amass 2,247. Ichiro passed it in the second game of his 11th season. 

Sometimes I think it's easy to forget just how good Suzuki is. Maybe because he plays in the late games and the Mariners haven't been good lately, but Suzuki's career is one for the ages.

In each of his first 10 seasons, Suzuki has had at least 200 hits. He's already the Mariners' career leader in stolen bases (386), triples (71) and batting average (.331) and needs 425 at-bats to pass Martinez in that category.

If you add the 1,278 hits Suzuki had in his time in Japan, he has 3,526 career hits and could finish his professional career with more hits than Pete Rose's 4,256 in the big leagues. While not quite the same and not the MLB record, it'd still be an impressive feat, especially with shorter seasons in Japan.

Martinez passed Ken Griffey Jr. as the team's all-time hits leader on April 3, 2001, just days into Suzuki's tenure with the Mariners. The two played together for several years, and Suzuki said Saturday he was humbled by passing Martinez.

"Today I broke his record. When you look at his numbers, that's a fact," Ichiro said through interpreter Antony Suzuki (via MLB.com). "But he is a hero back in Seattle. He is my hero as well. When you look at his existence, he's a lot bigger than I am, being a great human being as well. So that's how I look at it.

"I played with Edgar for years. That's something that is important to me. That's precious. That's a treasure to me. That's what I honor as well."

Royals' FUTURE FLUSH -- After the Royals beat the Angels on Saturday, it was time for the real show -- Kansas City's Double-A and Triple-A teams faced off at Kauffman Stadium to a healthy crowd ready to see baseball's most hyped prospects in person. About half the crowd of 18,022 for the Royals-Angels game stayed to watch the likes of Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer. [Kansas City Star]

NO PLATOON FOR PANDA -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy has assured Pablo Sandoval that he will not be part of a platoon at third base this season. Sandoval sat against lefty Ted Lilly on Saturday, but that was a matchup thing, Bochy told him. [San Jose Mercury News]

WAITING FOR HOLLIDAY -- The Cardinals aren't going to put outfielder Matt Holliday on the disabled list right away, hoping to avoid a trip altogether. Holliday had an appendectomy on Friday and was discharged from the hospital on Saturday. The Cardinals will wait a couple of days to see whether Holliday will be able to come back in time to avoid a DL trip. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

DEBUT -- Zach Britton may have been the Orioles' best starter this spring, but when time came for the final cuts, he still found himself headed to Triple-A Norfolk -- until the Orioles' best rookie of 2010, Brian Matusz, was placed on the DL with a left intercostal muscle strain. Britton, who had a 1.35 ERA in spring, will start today against the Rays. [MLB.com]

FAMILIAR FACE -- Roy Oswalt will make his first career start against Houston today. [MLB.com]

MAGGLIO OUT -- Magglio Ordonez isn't playing in today's game against the Yankees because of a sore right ankle. Ordonez was lifted for a defensive replacement in the sixth inning of Saturday's loss. Tigers manager Jim Leyland said it was mostly a precautionary move. [MLB.com]

DANKS OK -- John Danks had some dental work on Saturday, but won't miss his start today against the Indians. [MLB.com]

LONG NAME, LONG LAYOFF -- Nationals lefty Tom Gorzelanny will have 15 days between his final spring training start and his first regular-season start on April 9, but he is unconcerned. [Washington Post]

Padres LOVE THE BUNT -- The Padres new No. 3 hitter, Orlando Hudson, laid down a sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning of Saturday's game against the Cardinals. The Padres have had their No. 3 hitter sacrifice 20 times in the last 20 years. [Ducksnorts]

AARDSMA CLOSER -- The Mariners may get closer David Aardsma back sooner rather than later, manager Eric Wedge told reporters. [Seattle Times]

CLOSE SHAVE -- Rays starter Wade Davis will shave his head -- well, at least the top of it, his beard is staying -- following today's game. The shave is for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation's Cut for a Cure and is hoping to raise $10,000. As of Saturday, he'd raised $8,000 with his vow to go bald. [Tampa Tribune]

30-DOWN -- How Brian Wilson got into the New York Times crossword puzzle. [New York Times]

DIFFERENT WAY TO THE BIGS -- Former 16th-round draft pick Griffin Benedict has given up his dream of playing in the big leagues, instead accepting the Padres' offer of joining the team as its second bullpen catcher. Benedict is the son of former big-league catcher Bruce Benedict. He hit .229 at low Class A Fort Wayne last season. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

PATCH FEVER -- There's a total of eight memorial patches on MLB uniforms this summer. The Reds, Tigers, Pirates, Indians, Phillies, Dodgers, Cubs and Mariners are all sporting patches honoring people who have passed in the last year. While the Indians have gotten rave reviews of their Bob Feller patch (and for good reason), I'm a really big fan of the Pirates' Chuck Tanner patch as well. [Uniwatch Blog]

AT-BAT MUSIC -- Reds official blogger Jamie Ramsey has a list of all the at-bat music for the Reds this season. [Better Off Red]

WHITE TELLS ALL -- The New York Times has great things to say about Bill White's new book, Upity, about his time in baseball, both as a player and a league official.

BOW TIE -- Nice story from FOXSports.com reporter Ken Rosenthal on why he'll wear a bow tie on all telecasts this season. I thought it looked great, and glad to see the direction he's taken it. Good for Ken and Dhani Jones. [FOXSports.com]

FREE GAMES -- If you have the MLB At-Bat for the iPhone, iPad or Android devices, you'll get MLB.tv for free during April. If you're reading this and have an iPhone, iPad or Android device, you need to spend the $15 for the At-Bat app and this just makes it an even better deal. (You do have to buy separate apps for each device, but it's still totally worth it.) [The Unofficial Apple Weblog]

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Posted on: March 4, 2011 9:53 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:29 pm
 

Pepper: Big Puma struggling through spring

Lance Berkman

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cardinals came out of the offseason sacrificing defense for offense, but that offense may have a hard time even getting on the field.

Lance Berkman, inked in as the team's right fielder going into the spring, was scratched from the team's lineup on Thursday because of a sore left calf. Berkman had already been limited to designated hitter work because of a bad left elbow.

It's just the first week of games, and Berkman has been limited to play in the field. On Thursday, Berkman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he was "perfectly fine" and would still go to Kissimmee, Fla., on Friday to face his old team, the Astros.

Friday morning, Berkman wasn't on the bus, missing another game.

Prospect Zack Cox filled in for Berkman at DH on Thursday and knocked in a run, but he's not ready to fill in full-time for Berkman in the field and the National League doesn't have the DH.

Sure, it's early, and several players are battling bumps and bruises, but not all of them are 35, coming off a down season, moving to a more demanding physical position, blocked at their old position and being counted on to remedy a team's offense. That's a lot on the shoulders of the Big Puma, and it's looking less like he can shoulder that load.

WAKE-UP: As if stepping into the box against a guy who can sling the ball 105 mph wasn't enough to get your attention, the first pitch ending up somewhere near the bull certainly got Dodger Trent Oeltjen's attention. Thursday night, the first pitch of Chapman's inning of work went over the catcher's mitt and over the umpire's head. His next three pitches to Oeltjen were strikes, including strike three looking.

"If it was at my face, I wouldn't have had time to move," Oeltjen told the Los Angeles Times' Dylan Hernandez. "It woke me up. He sent a message he was throwing hard."

Said new manager Don Mattingly: "Jeez, huh? He was Randy Johnson-ish. It gets there quick, doesn't it?"

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS: Carlos Zambrano didn't fight anyone in his Thursday start for the Cubs -- not only that, he threw three scoreless innings. However, he did complain of arm fatigue after the start.

"I was just tired," Zambrano said to the Chicago Sun-Times. "It's normal. I wasn't feeling power in my arm, but I guarantee you I will work hard and feel good in my next start."

Zambrano note he typically feels a "dead-arm" at least once a spring.

JUST BAD NEWS: Yesterday the question was if Astros' catcher Jason Castro would miss the beginning of the season. Today, it's if he'll play at all this season.

Thursday night, Castro was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Castro was scheduled to have surgery this morning, and general manager Ed Wade said he could return "by mid-September." (Houston Chronicle)

WAIT FOR JUDGEMENT? Matt Cain said he hasn't thrown a ball since coming down with elbow inflammation on Sunday and will likely miss multiple starts this spring. 

However, Cain's not too concerned, even after taking an MRI.

There is a history -- and this is something to watch -- of pitchers going to the postseason one season and having trouble the next because of the increased workload. While Cain's not worried, it'll be something to monitor with all of the Giants' pitching staff. (San Francisco Chronicle)

ANOTHER WART: Hopefully Orioles starter Brian Matusz won't tweet a picture like Michael Cuddyer, but he'll also be having a wart professionally removed.

Matusz's wart is on the middle finger of his pitching hand. Still, he threw two scoreless innings on Wednesday even with the wart. He had it some last year, but pitched through it. He said it bothers him some on his breaking ball. (Baltimore Sun)

WAS THAT REALLY A CONSIDERATION? Oliver Perez has been the New York media's favorite target for a while, but is this really necessary? The New Your Daily News' "breaking news" from "a source" is that the Mets have internally decided Perez will not be a starter during the regular season.

The Daily News' Andy Martino wrote that the day after he wrote the team would cut Perez (and his $12 million salary) if he didn't perform well in his start on Thursday. Well, he threw two scoreless innings against the Cardinals, so Martino didn't get his wish. Instead, he had to find a new way to pile onto Perez.

Hey, it's not to say Perez doesn't stink. He does. Or that he's not overpaid -- he is. It's just, this breathless reporting seems almost like piling on. Sure, the Mets have said he's in contention for the rotation, but the Mets say a lot of things, and it's not like we believe those.

NOW HE COULD BE IN A ROTATION: Neftali Feliz wasn't too happy with his first start of spring. Still, he threw two scoreless innings, so it wasn't bad. He also threw three different pitches, but struggled with his command and rhythm.

The Feliz story may be one of the more interesting ones of spring, and certainly something to watch as the month goes along. He'll throw three innings next week. (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

VISA TIME: Edinson Volquez, Cincinnati's opening-day starter, could pitch his first spring training start because of a visa problem, but he should be able to make his next start after a quick trip to his native Dominican Republic.

"Everything is set," he told the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay. "They're just waiting for me to pitch it up."

He was unable to pitch in games at which admission is charged because he came to camp on a travel visa, not a work visa. His work visa was held up because of his failed drug test and suspension last season.

COCO CONTRITE: A's outfielder Coco Crisp said he's embarrassed about his DUI arrest on Wednesday morning. (San Francisco Chronicle)

GO METS OR GO HOME: Former Cardinals and A's closer Jason Isringhausen is back in camp for the Mets, after starting a comeback last season in the Reds system.

Isringhausen played in Triple-A last season, but says his bus-riding days are over. If he doesn't break camp with the Mets, he'll just go home and call it a career. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

OR JUST GO HOME: Boston's J.D. Drew says he's considering retiring after this year. It's been one of those things he's hinted at before and is hardly a surprise. (Boston Herald)

SO WHO IS A-ROD? According to Wikileaks, a U.S. diplomatic cable on the 2009 Iranian election called President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the "George Steinbrenner of Iran" when talking about his influence over the national soccer team.

I'm guessing that wasn't a compliment. (Associated Press)

WHAT'S A WORLD SERIES WORTH? How much are World Series starts worth to a Hall of Fame discussion? Or, even more words about Jack Morris from Baseball Prospectus.

Honestly, I used to be a Morris for the Hall guy, I'm not anymore. I used to not be a Bert Blyleven guy, but I am now. But I'll certainly never change my feeling that I never want to hear another Morris-Blyleven debate.

A BETTER SCORECARD: An interview with Bethany Heck, the designer of a new, better, scorebook. Heck's 20-game scorebook is like "if Moleskine made a scorebook…" (Bugs & Cranks)

WHAT TO WATCH: Jake Peavy will make his first start since July 6 today against the Angels in Tempe, Ariz.

"Hopefully, we'll see some of the hard work we've done pay off," he told the Chicago Tribune.

QUARTERBACK SHOWDOWN: There's a Groundhog Day aspect to spring training, so Padres manager Bud Black found a way to break up the monotony -- a quarterback combine.

While Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert (seriously, could you draft a quarterback named "Blaine") did this in Indianapolis last week, Black had his former quarterbacks -- top prospect Casey Kelly, Cory Luebke, Orlando Hudson and Nick Hundley -- go through their own competition Thursday morning.

According to MLB.com's Corey Brock, the three went through several drills, including hitting a moving target. Luebke, a high school quarterback in Ohio, upset Kelly, who signed a letter of intent to play QB at Tennessee.

"We're here for six weeks," Black said. "… We try to do some things to keep the guys going."

MARK YOUR CALENDAR: The Reds have announced the front-runner for the year's best bobblehead. On July 2 against the Indians, fans will receive the combination Dusty Baker bobblehead and toothpick holder. The bobblehead even has Dusty with a toothpick in his mouth (and, of course, sweatbands on his arms). So far, it's the best bobblehead I've seen on tap for this year, with the Reds also getting second place for their Jonny Gomes bobblehead and arm, mimicking the way Gomes tugs at his helmet before every at-bat.

Dusty Baker

IF YOU'RE NOT ALREADY BEARDED OUT: The literary journal McSweeney's is selling a "How to Beard Yourself Like Brian Wilson" poster.

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Posted on: February 8, 2011 6:13 pm
 

Venable could become new leadoff hitter

Last season, the Padres went with Jerry Hairston, Jr. the bulk of the time out of the leadoff spot.

But Hairston has since moved on, having joined the Nationals. In his absence, San Diego is looking at Will Venable (pictured) as a possibility, reports the North County Times.

Venable is currently set to man an outfield corner -- likely right field -- in his first full season in the majors. The 28-year-old has a career .252/.325/.418 line, which isn't exactly a line that should be attached to a player leading off the game.

VenableHowever, San Diego's options are limited. Of those that finished with a .325 or higher OBP last season for San Diego, two (Adrian Gonzalez and Yorvit Torrealba) are gone while Chase Headley's .327 OBP doesn't exactly vault him ahead of Venable.

However, some newcomers do have a chance to supplant Venable up top the order. Cameron Maybin will still be considered along with fellow newcomers Jason Bartlett and Orlando Hudson, as manager Bud Black mentioned, according to MLB.com.

Maybin would be better served to bat in the lower half of the order until San Diego knows what it will get from the former top prospect, and Hudson's OBP was .338 last season. Better then Venable, but once you add in the 29 stolen bases versus Hudson's 10, Venable probably holds the edge there. The only newcomer with a real shot is Jason Bartlett. His OBP was just .324 last season, but holds a career .345 mark and swiped 30 bags back in 2009.

Granted, a lot of Bartlett's career mark is tied up in his career year of 2009, when he had a .389 OBP. But even without that season, Bartlett's right in the thick of it with Venable for the rights to the leadoff spot.

In the end, however, this isn't quite as important as one may think. The leadoff hitter leads off exactly once per game and there have been studies showing that the best-arranged lineup is only marginally different than what normally gets trotted out. And sometimes, the best-arranged lineup looks quite odd.

Take the Padres, for example. After plugging in their projected lineup through the Lineup Analysis tool using career averages, it's learned that the best leadoff hitter candidate for the Padres is Hudson, with Venable fifth and Bartlett ninth. Yeah, don't see that happening. But even the difference between the best and 30th best lineup is 0.09 runs per game different.

Oh, and the Padres used 135 different lineups last season with no settled leadoff hitter or No. 3/4 hitter... and yet the Pads came within a game of making the playoffs.

-- Evan Brunell

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Posted on: December 17, 2010 12:45 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2010 1:23 pm
 

Hudson headed to San Diego

Orlando Hudson Orlando Hudson said on MLB Network Radio that he will "end up going to San Diego."

"Great place, great atmosphere, unbelievable ballpark," Hudson said.

All this is from the MLB Network Radio twitter feed .

Hudson said five teams had been calling him, with two-year and three-year deals.

Still, he said he expects the deal with the Padres to be announced later on Friday.

The Padres will be Hudson's fifth team overall, and fourth in the last four seasons. Hudson hit .268/.338/.372 with six home runs, 37 RBI and 10 stolen bases for the Twins last season. He turned 33 this week and was expendable with the Twins' impending signing of Tsuyoshi Nishioka.

How does Hudson fit in with the Padres? Well, a quick look at their official site tells you about all you need to know -- the team's depth chart has Everth Cabrera as the starter at both second base and shortstop (even though everyone assumes Jason Bartlett is coming to San Diego, that's still not done, so there's no telling what's going to happen with that). There's no backup listed at shortstop, and at second, it's recently-acquired Eric Patterson. Patterson was acquired Thursday as the player to be named to complete the Adrian Gonzalez deal, so there's a story about him on the front page. The picture accompanying the story is of Patterson dropping a ball. Not quite something that gets the fanbase too excited about buying tickets.

UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com tweets Hudson's deal is for two years, worth $11.5 million.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 30, 2010 11:55 pm
 

Francisco, Frasor accept arbitration

Jason Frasor The Rangers' Frank Francisco and the Blue Jays' Jason Frasor have accepted salary arbitration, the Major League Baseball Players Association announced Tuesday night. They were the only two of 27 arbitration-eligible free agents to accept.

Francisco and Frasor are both middle relievers and may have found themselves hamstrung by being Type A free agents and costing a draft pick to sign.

Turning down arbitration were Kevin Gregg, Octavio Dotel, Trevor Hoffman, Kevin Correia, Pedro Feliciano, Aaron Heilman, Brad Hawpe, Felipe Lopez, Scott Downs, Randy Choate, Grant Balfour, J.J. Putz, Carl Crawford, Rafael Soriano, Carl Pavano, Adrian Beltre, Chad Qualls, Cliff Lee, Jayson Werth, Adam Dunn, Jesse Crain, Orlando Hudson, Paul Konerko, Miguel Olivo and Adam LaRoche.

Those 25 players could still re-sign with their previous teams.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: November 26, 2010 4:36 pm
 

Twins will use Nishioka at 2B

The Twins will use Tsuyoshi Nishioka at second base, a source tells FOXSports.com's Jon Paul Morosi .

Nishioka played both shortstop and second base in Japan for the Chiba Lotte Marines, and most scouts predicted him as a second baseman here.

Orlando Hudson, last year's second baseman, is a Type B free agent and not expected to return to Minnesota.

J.J. Hardy was this year's shortstop, but the Twins would certainly like to upgrade at that position, although there's hardly an obvious free agent candidate (besides Derek Jeter, of course). The trade market for shortstop is definitely a seller's market, so the team may choose not to upgrade that spot or hope Nishioka surprises them when he gets to spring training.

The Twins won the bidding to negotiate with Nishioka and their 30-day window to negotiate with him began today.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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