Tag:Nick Punto
Posted on: February 22, 2011 6:08 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2011 6:30 pm
 

Punto undergoes surgery, out three months

The Cardinals' infield just got a bit thin.

Nick Punto, who was brought in to serve as a bit of an insurance policy for David Freese at third base, will be out three months after having to undergo surgery on a sports hernia, Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports .

Punto wasn't just there to spell Freese, as he could also help out at second base behind Skip Schumaker -- so the overall infield depth is affected.

Freese is still set to be the Cardinals' everyday third baseman for the upcoming season, but he was riddled with injuries last year. He missed the final two months and only played 70 games total due to ankle injuries. He did hit .296/.361/.404 when actually on the field and many believe his upside is much higher. He just needs to stay on the field. Reports thus far from spring training have Freese as "limited" and "questionable" for opening day.

With Punto out of the mix for a while, the Cardinals will have to lean on some combination of Allen Craig and Tyler Greene to provide depth behind Schumaker, Freese and Ryan Theriot around the non-Pujols infield spots.

Tony La Russa has had good fortune for years in mixing and matching seemingly also-ran players in these infield spots -- Aaron Miles comes to mind -- so it might not end up being a huge problem, but this is definitely something to monitor in St. Louis.

-- Matt Snyder

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Posted on: January 21, 2011 1:47 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2011 5:11 pm
 

Cardinals sign Nick Punto

PuntoThese days, there aren't many free agents left to cause fans to stand up and pay attention. Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero and Johnny Damon still command some cachet, but Nick Punto certainly doesn't.

However, the longtime Twins player has inked a one-year deal with the Cardinals, a team press release announces. Terms have yet to be revealed, but Punto looks to be operating on a major-league contract and thus should hold the inside track on the backup infield job. Punto, who can play second, short and third, has a career line of .247/.321/.322 in 2,818 at-bats.

UPDATE: Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune has the contract at one year and $750,000.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: October 29, 2010 10:58 am
 

Twins bring back Kubel, cut Punto loose

Kubel The Twins have picked up DH Jason Kubel's option for 2011 but will allow Nick Punto to hit free agency as Kelly Thesier of MLB.com reports.

Kubel (pictured) is the Twins' primary DH but was pressed back into outfield duty in 2010 once Justin Morneau went down with a season-ending concussion, forcing Michael Cuddyer to man first base. The 28-year-old struggled through the worst season of his full-time starting career, which spans four years. He hit .249/.323/.427 with 21 home runs a year after cranking 28 and hitting .300/.369/.539.

Even with the down year, picking up the option was a no-brainer. While the Twins will have to juggle an outfield of Delmon Young, Denard Span, Cuddyer and factor in Kubel along with Jim Thome (likely to return to DH again), Kubel's power is important to the team.

Meanwhile, Punto's $5 million option looked ridiculous in the face of a .238/.313/.302 line, as Punto's role the last few years has thankfully shifted from a starter to a backup, where his true value lies. Punto is a gifted fielder, but offers nothing with the bat, and $5 million is way too much to pay. Over two years is a distinct possibility, and Punto figures to return to town even with the option being declined.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 1, 2010 1:48 am
 

Injuries loom over Twins victory

Jason Kubel
The Twins got an important, come-from-behind victory over Detroit on Tuesday night, but injury concerns kept them from celebrating it too much.

Outfielder Jason Kubel was hit on the left wrist with a fastball in the seventh. X-rays didn't show anything broken, but it sounds like it's something that will cost him at least a few days.

Brian Fuentes, the reliever acquired from the Angels just three days earlier, was unable to enter the game after his lower back froze up while he was warming in the bullpen. He's had trouble with the back in the past, but doesn't think this tweak is going to be a long-term setback.

Second baseman Orlando Hudson has been struggling with a foot injury for a few days, and manager Ron Gardenhire sent him for another examination after watching him hobble around during Tuesday's game. Hudson made an error that allowed an unearned run.

"I think we all saw that he wasn’t moving very well," Gardenhire said. "He says he’s fine, but that’s not fine. That’s not good enough for me."

The Twins are already playing without All-Star Justin Morneau, who is out indefinitely with a concussion, and have starter Kevin Slowey and infielder Nick Punto on the disabled list as well.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: August 19, 2010 10:26 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2010 10:26 pm
 

Punto re-injures hamstring

Nick Punto
Appearing in his first game since July 28, Twins shortstop Nick Punto aggravated his left hamstring injury Thursday night sliding headfirst into second base against the White Sox.

Punto came off the disabled list Monday after being out with a hamstring strain. Thursday, he had two hits early in the game then hurt himself sliding into second base. He was replaced by Alexi Casilla.

-- David Andriesen

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Category: MLB
Posted on: June 19, 2010 1:42 am
 

Lee continues to impress


Cliff Lee Cliff Lee did nothing to hurt his trade value on Friday night. Lee shutout the National League's top offense and the Mariners were able to scratch out a single run against Cincinnati starter Johnny Cueto to win 1-0.

Lee was dominant again, striking out seven, walking none while allowing six hits in his third complete game of the season.

Lee improved to 5-3 with a 2.55 ERA, but even more impressive he has 67 strikeouts to four walks. Four.

For the record, Nick Punto, Howie Kendrick, Juan Rivera and Evan Longoria are the select four who have seen four balls in an at-bat from Lee.

Lee is a free agent after this season and the Mariners are currently 26-41 and 13 games out of first in the American League West and 15 games out of the wild card, so it's likely he'll play for his fourth team in the last two seasons sometime before the end of July.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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