Spring training is fast approaching! Plenty of analysis headed your way over the next couple weeks, but for now let's get caught up on a few notes and some housekeeping...
* Twins' pitching coach Rick Anderson recently related that Scott Baker has been tabbed as the team's Opening Day starter. Baker was also slated to start the season opener last year before a shoulder injury shelved him for the first couple weeks of April. He got off to a rocky start after coming off the disabled list, allowing 14 homers over his first nine starts, but settled in to allow only 14 homers in his final 24 starts while going 13-3 with a 3.67 ERA. Over the past three years, he has easily been the Twins' most consistent starter.
* I have been confident throughout the offseason that the Twins would get a Joe Mauer extension done before the start of spring training. Now, suddenly, that date is less than a week away. Will a deal be completed this week or will the Twins allow the distraction to carry over into the spring schedule?
* If you haven't ordered your copy of the Maple Street Press Twins Annual yet, I strongly recommend doing so. I recently received my copy and have read it front-to-back. The magazine features of great content from an amazing lineup of writers. At just $12.99, you won't be disappointed.
* Many folks have been calling for some sort of gathering/tweet-up amongst Twins fans and bloggers. Now, those calls have been answered. Majors in Apple Valley has kindly offered to host the first TwinsCentric Viewing Party on Saturday, March 13 during the Twins' televised exhibition game against the Phillies. John Bonnes, Parker Hageman, Seth Stohs and myself will be overseeing the event, which will feature specialized food/drink specials, giveaways and much more. All are welcome. I'm sure I'll be posting reminders as the date nears, but if you're interested in getting together with some like-minded fanatics and checking out some March baseball, make sure to set the date aside on your calendar.