-- Yes, Michael Cuddyer says, getting bounced from the playoffs by the Yankees (again) last October still hurts. But things might not have worked out well for him regardless last October even had the Twins played in the World Series.
Not only did he undergo arthroscopic surgery on his knee in mid-October, but he was stricken with appendicitis two days after that. All the time, he was going to push the knee surgery back until the offseason. The appendicitis? That might not have cooperated.
"If we had been in the World Series ... I was in the hospital watching Game 2," Cuddyer says. "I was thinking, 'That could be us.' And I was thinking, 'That could be me in San Francisco, laying in a hospital.
"It would have been good if we were in the World Series. But it would have sucked if I was in a hospital bed while it was going on."
Weird thing is, as Cuddyer watched from his hospital bed, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver were talking about Giants center fielder Andres Torres -- and how he was felled by appendicitis in early September but made it back in time for the postseason.
-- One more piece of inside dope on Renaissance man Cuddyer:
"He's a gadget guy," Twins designated hitter Jim Thome says. "He's got all the music, all the information. He's a big trivia guy. He knows all about baseball. Somebody asks who scored 155 runs in whatever year, he knows.
"We go to him. He's the leader of our clubhouse."
-- Keep an eye on young minor-league right-hander Kyle Gibson, 23, tabbed No. 34 on <em>Baseball America's</em> list of top 100 prospects. Gibson could be the next great Twins homegrown starter. At the very least, the man who moved from Class A to Triple A last summer likely will pitch for the Twins at some point this summer.
"He's what you want," Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson says. "His makeup, his attitude, everything about him."
Gibson throws four pitches well -- fastball, change-up, curve and a sinker/slider that is his best pitch.
"He's not your typical kid coming up," Anderson says. "He talks about pitching, changing speeds, pitching to the side to get away from a hitter. He's going to be one you'll hear about."
Sunblock Day? Not one day that you haven't needed sunblock since camps opened. Consistently in the 80s with warm sunshine.
Likes: Unquestionably, one of the best sights of spring: Twins minor-league hitting coach Riccado Ingram in camp and feeling great after being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor two years ago. He's been through chemotherapy, radiation and, praise be, it looks like he's out of the woods. What a great, great thing. ... Former infielder Jeff Reboulet visiting Twins camp. Reb, one of the good guys, is home in Dayton, Ohio, and working as a financial advisor (yes, he has some pro baseball clients), while teaming with his brother to run a sports academy in his spare time. ... Former Twins manager Tom Kelly, Hall of Famer Paul Molitor and former catcher Terry Steinbach in uniform instructing and running drills. ... Longtime radio man John Gordon retiring at 70 after 25 years with the Twins -- but still planning to broadcast 89 games this year. Team president Dave St. Peter and broadcast partner Dan Gladden talked him into it. ... Perfect tonic to re-charge the spring training batteries: An hour by the pool and dinner at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Mmmm.
Dislikes: Minnesota bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek, the longest tenured coach in the majors (this will be his 31st season), missing the first several days of spring camp following surgery to repair a detached retina in his right eye. He may wind up missing all of spring camp as the eye heals. Get well soon, Stelly. Spring camp with the Twins just isn't the same.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Now you're lookin' at a man that's gettin' kind of mad
"I had lots of luck but it's all been bad
"No matter how I struggle and strive
"I'll never get out of this world alive
"My fishin' pole's broke the creek is full of sand
"My woman run away with another man
"No matter how I struggle and strive
"I'll never get out of this world alive"
-- Hank Williams Jr., I'll Never Get Out of This World Alive