Posted by: gravessack | October 8, 2018

Is This The End Of The Line?

With the sun dim, temperatures cool, thousands of fans flocked to worn-out Target Field September 30 to witness the Twins’ season finale. Finishing out a very disappointing season with a win and a six-game winning streak, the club will leave with a somewhat better taste in their mouths as they prepare for the cold, long winter of uncertainty.

With a September 12 report swirling about fan favorite Joe Mauer’s possible retirement, the past few weeks were designed to pay tribute to the St. Paul native. If the antics and emotions of the last game were not a tell-tale sign, I do not know how they would top it.

As Mauer was taking his position at first base moments before the opening pitch, he was surprisingly met by his five-year-old twin daughters, Emily and Maren; a hug ensued. When he came up first in the first inning, with plate ump Jim Reynolds taking in the moment, fans erupted in several minutes of cheers, with Mauer acknowledging them. Every at-bat was an ovation.

In what was maybe his last at-bat of his stellar 15-year career, Mauer stepped up to the plate in the 7th inning. He hit a soft line drive to left-center field, hustling, just beating a tag at second base, with a big grin on his face when the play concluded. Everybody thought that he would be replaced at second, but the team had a masterful plan; something you would see in a movie.

The plan was apparently in the works for a couple of weeks. After the 8th inning, with the Twins ahead 5-4, Mauer came out of the dugout in his catcher’s gear to a thunderous ovation. He took a moment to collect himself, then started warm-up tosses from reliever Matt Belisle. On his practice throw to second, the ball sailed into center field. With Chicago’s Yoan Moncada hitting, Belisle threw a fastball outside for a ball. That was the moment Mauer used a mound visit, where he hugged Belisle, who may also retire. With tears in his eyes, Mauer left the field as Chris Gimenez replaced him. One last loud applause occurred as Mauer was taking in the heartwarming scene on the field at the conclusion of the game. Joe Mauer in a Minnesota Twins uniform and catcher's equipment

Mauer, a six-time all-star, will contemplate retirement with his wife, Maddie, during the next couple of weeks. If he is finished, Mauer will have played for his hometown team his entire career; a rare feat. I don’t think he has Hall of Fame numbers, but most definitely should be enshrined in the Twins Hall, and have his number retired by the Twins. Throughout his career, Mauer had a smooth swing and was productive. He could finish with a career batting average of .306, racking up 2,123 hits, 143 home runs, and 923 RBIs.

In the meantime, the next couple of months will be fluid. GM Thad Levine must find a new manager, after firing Paul Molitor on October 2, and revamp a depleting line-up; in which Miguel Sano should be cut due to his performance and his reported mishap when he ran over a police officer in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic on October 7. These are some of the underlying factors that Mauer will need to bring into consideration when making the decision of his lifetime.

Mauer will make the right choice for him. If this is indeed the end of the line, number 7 had one heck of a career!

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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Posted by: gravessack | September 29, 2018

Speechless Season 3 Premieres Friday, October 5!

ABC's Speechless logo

Photo: ABC.com

It’s almost here! Season 3 of ABC’s sitcom Speechless premieres this Friday at 7:30 p.m. C.T.! The first two seasons were on Wednesday nights, but Speechless now will be shown on Friday nights.

Season 2 ended with the DiMeos being evicted from their home. It will be interesting to see where they move to, and if J.J. continues to live with them. Personally, I would be interested in seeing J.J. move out, and to see how everyone handles that. Maybe most of all, though, I hope the show continues to be funny and entertaining (especially Kenneth, my favorite character!), and realistically portraying disability. I still believe one of the best things of this show is that it has an actor with cerebral palsy playing a character with cerebral palsy.

The first two episodes of Season 3 are titled “L-O-N– LONDON” so I’m guessing the DiMeos will go to London, where the mom’s character is from, maybe on vacation. Who knows, maybe they move there! John Cleese (from Monty Python!) will guest star in the premiere, so that should be amusing!

Written by Sam Graves

P.S. On a totally unrelated note, as the Twins wrap up a disappointing season, the MLB playoffs are about to begin! I predict Houston will win the World Series for the second straight year because they have very strong pitching. Both the playoffs and Speechless should be fun to watch!

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Posted by: gravessack | September 21, 2018

Austin Powers, Baby!

When dusk was settling in the warm month of July, and when the Twins season looked hopeless, the front office put a fire sale into motion. Eduardo Escobar was traded to Arizona, Ryan Pressly to Houston, Zach Duke to Seattle, Lance Lynn to the Yanks,Minnesota Twins first baseman Tyler Austin
and finally for a gut punch, Brian Dozier was heading to California. The club’s line-up was in disrepair. For a while, second baseman Logan Forsythe, who came over from the Dodgers in the Dozier trade, looked liked he was going to be the best addition. Apparently, that was not meant to be. When the Twins traded Lynn on July 30, minor leaguer Tyler Austin came to Minnesota. Realizing the team’s state of affairs right now, he could be the best asset that they received.

Austin, having been stuck in the minors for the last three seasons, probably unfairly, was sent to Triple-A Rochester. After averaging .263 in nine games, the Twins quickly called him up on August 10, seeking a power bat. Third baseman Miguel Sano was struggling at the time. Austin, who homered 80 times in the minors since 2010, saw his opportunity to show the Yankees that they were wrong to trade him and show the Twins he was part of their future; he has not disappoint.

The 27-year-old is built like an ironman and has a powerful swing. During his Twins debut August 11, Austin cracked a home run and singled. During the month of August, he proved that he had a masterful swing. He hit two mammoth homeruns in the August 26 game versus the Athletics. Austin ended that month with seven long balls and an average of .236.

The start of September was rough for the Georgia native. In the first four games that he partook in, Austin struck out seven times, which included three strike outs in a game. Late in the game on September 5, he ran towards the dugout to catch a foul ball. Austin slipped on the warning track and injured his back; he missed four games. When he reappeared back in the line-up six days later, it took him a couple games to get his stroke back. From September 16 to 18, he had 5 hits, 6 RBIs, and a home run.

It looks as if Austin was not getting the chance he needed in New York due to an already-potent line-up. He certainly deserved better, as he performed well in limited play. That caused an uproar on Twitter, when on August 18, Austin’s dad tweeted suggesting that his son was better than Greg Bird and provided stats, supporting his thinking. Austin was embarrassed and asked his father to take down those tweets, which he later did. That might be a true statement, but as we know all too well, when dads start tweeting at random, it is never good!

However, when the dust flew away and the cheap shots simmered down, Austin said he was glad to be in Minnesota. The 6’2″, 222-pounder looks on pace to solidify a roster spot next season. With the September 12 report about Joe Mauer’s possible retirement this off-season and Kennys Vargas’s non-existence all year, the Twins need to find an individual who has both power and consistency to insert in future line-ups. Austin is the ideal player to take his spot as he has tremendous pop and plays first base. Due to an extreme uncertainly at the corner positions, the Twins should be relieved that they can control his contract until after the 2023 season.

That gives Austin plenty of time to show off his power and put people in awe at Target Field!

Written by: Michael L. Sack

Posted by: gravessack | August 19, 2018

My Ecuadorian Adventure

At 11:30am on July 29, our airplane slowly departed from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport gate. Moments before, I was transferred into an aisle chair for the very first time other than for a practice run months before. The airline workers placed me in a seat and I was set for my inaugural ride in the skies. The aircraft taxied for a short while, then all of a sudden, it roared down the runway at a high-speed. Nervous, but not scared, I watched out the window as we left the ground and went up and up. As we went higher, Richfield was clearly below us. I, along with my family, was en route to Ecuador to attend my younger sister’s wedding, which would occur later that week.

After three flights and an overnight stay in Quito, we arrived at our destination of Cuenca the next day. At the Mariscal Lamar International Airport in Cuenca, I discovered instantly that this would be a week of accessibility obstacles. In order to transport me off the plane, three airline workers had to carry my manual wheelchair down the steps with me in it. At that point, I was thinking: have they done this before? As expected, we made it down without a hiccup. That was adventurous in itself, and the week had not even started!

Ecuador has very few accessible vans and we were not lucky enough to rent one. So every time we wanted to go somewhere, I had to maneuver in to a regular car seat. When the week’s schedule really intensified on August 1, three people lifted me into a tour van as we ventured to our first formal event. We went to Giron for a waterfall visit, and Yunguilla, where their vacation home is located. Luckily we hired a professional driver because the drive was nerve-racking. When we arrived to the El Chorro waterfall, I had to stay back with a couple of people since wheelchair accessibility was non-existent up to where the group was going. After an hour, our group made the trek up a mountain on a little winding road with no guard rails to the compound for a traditional pig roast. The family’s retreat location has it all, including a basketball court and a swimming pool overlooking mountains and valleys.

On August 3, a rehearsal lunch occurred for the wedding in Cuenca’s center; the soup was delightful! Afterwards, we walked around for a bit. I was a little surprised when I saw curb cuts throughout the city, although most of them still had small bumps and were steep. The center had shrunken streets that made cars zoom right past pedestrians. Small sidewalks made it difficult to navigate a wheelchair. Cuencanos kept staring as they were puzzled to see someone in a wheelchair! Almost every store had at least one step so we had to bump me up and down often. That night a group of us ate at a restaurant a block from our Sheraton Four Points hotel, called FoGo, an Applebee’s-style diner.

The next day was the wedding. Parents, groomsmen, and bridesmaids were gearing up. The ceremony of my sister and her fiancé was at 4 pm at Virgen de Bronce. After a quick cab ride, people had to bump me up a set of stairs at the old church. I had to sit in the back, so it was difficult to follow the hourlong mass as two guys were standing in front of me the whole time. Plus the ceremony was mostly in Spanish! However, I was right by the musician who sang beautifully! Sitting next to my brother, I knew something good or funny happened by how the crowd reacted. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the extravagant bash afterward. But I hear it was wild; it had everything, including tons of candy, llamas, a crazy hour, a ten-piece band, and an outdoor fireworks display. They go all out for weddings as it did not end until about 3 am.

The day after the wedding was kind of dull. I had to experience a Cuenca hospital for something. We spent about two hours there trying to explain the problem to Spanish-speaking doctors. The newlyweds came to help out with the language barrier, just nine hours after the bash ended. Fortunately, everything was OK. That night, after recovering from that unplanned visit, we took a cab to their house for some wedding leftovers! Like all residential streets in the 461-year-old city, their home is gated in with literally no front yard.

For me, August 6 was spent all day in our year-old hotel, which would have been ADA approved if it was in America. Each morning, there was a free breakfast that had every kind of item you may want. Our family enjoyed that breakfast so much! The hotel lobby had floor-to-ceiling windows with a balcony overlooking the city and mountains.

Our last day in Cuenca was all about wandering around the city’s center. Walking up hills pushing a wheelchair made it tough. We visited one of the many open stores, making our way to Calderon Park. The park is a superb area where people can gather, featuring lots of trees, walkways, and a statue of Abdon Calderon, who was Ecuadorian and the hero of the “Battle of Pichincha”. On our way back, we ate at a cute restaurant in the city. Afterwards, we came upon a steep walkway, which was apparently TOO steep for four people to get me down. Ironically, my sister’s friend just happened to be across the street at that very moment so he gladly helped us.

Throughout the week, whenever we drove to touristy destinations, I saw things that I would never see in Minnesota. There were houses situated on hills just a couple of feet from the highway, children playing and walking along roadways, and animals just hanging and eating on abrupt cliffs. The view of trees on mountains and the valleys were spectacular!

My accessibility take from Ecuador was that I was pleased to see the attempt at making curb cuts, but those can be much better. Power wheelchair users would possibly tip over on most of the cut outs. The bunch of stairs were expected, however there were a few elevators in old parts of the city. It took me until the last day to spot two manual chair users rolling in the city. Throughout the trip, I got the impression that the accessibility will improve, since Ecuador’s President Lenin Moreno uses a wheelchair.

That night at around 8pm, we boarded a plane. After flying all night and missing our Atlanta connection by minutes, we arrived back in Minnesota in the morning of August 8, tired with abundant memories.

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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Posted by: gravessack | August 5, 2018

What Were the Twins Thinking!?

Brian Dozier in the dugout of his new team, the Los Angeles DodgersLast week, the Twins traded five players (Eduardo Escobar, Ryan Pressly, Lance Lynn, Zach Duke, and Brian Dozier) in a span of just a few days, right before the July 31 MLB Trade Deadline. Since all of these guys except for Pressly are set to become free agents at the end of the season, I can start to understand why Twins management decided to trade them, since they wanted to get something and not risk them just leaving in free agency. I still don’t totally understand the decisions to trade them, though, particularly Escobar and Dozier.

Both Escobar and Dozier seemed to be very popular in the clubhouse and were fan favorites. A lot of people, both fans and teammates, were upset with the decision to trade them.

I was upset, too. Trading two of your most popular players is bad for team culture, something I think is very important if you want to win. These trades also suggest that Twins management is giving up on this season. I know the team likely won’t make the playoffs, but this is a bad message to send to the rest of the team. What makes it especially disappointing was that both Escobar and Dozier were traded, not just one of them.

While many teams who likely won’t make the playoffs, including the Twins, trade key players for mostly minor league prospects before the Trade Deadline, it doesn’t make much sense to me. For Escobar, the Twins got three Class A prospects from the Arizona Diamondbacks. For Dozier, the Twins got two prospects from the Los Angeles Dodgers (as well as second baseman Logan Forsythe, who’s in the majors but is not having a good season). It will take several years for these prospects to reach the majors, assuming they get there at all. The Twins also have second base prospect Nick Gordon who’s supposed to be good, but he hasn’t played in the majors yet.

Here is a Star Tribune letter to the editor explaining why fans are so mad about the Dozier trade in particular. Here’s a Star Tribune blog post that explains why the Twins should have kept Dozier and given him a qualifying offer, which means he could have played one more year with the Twins if he accepted the offer. This would have allowed the Twins to have a good second baseman next year while Nick Gordon continues to develop in the minors.

There must be a reason for these kinds of trades, but I can’t quite figure it out. Escobar and Dozier are set to become free agents after this season, so let’s hope the Twins sign at least one of these guys!

Written by: Sam Graves

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Posted by: gravessack | July 14, 2018

Where Did Astudillo Come From?

When I returned home from Fort Wayne July 2, the Twins and Brewers held their first game of the series in Milwaukee. Suddenly, a new addition appeared on the television. The figure was yet another infielder the Twins were willing to try. You see, ever since Miguel Sano was sent down to Single-A, and now that Logan Morrison is on DL, the Twins have started soul-searching to find a reliable guy to fill the void. Looking for improvement, the team brought up Willians Astudillo from Triple-A Rochester on June 29. But, never hearing about this fella, I began to wonder: who was he?

Growing up in Barcelona, Venezuela in the 1990s, Astudillo dreamt of one day playing baseball in America. That quickly became reality, when in 2009, Philadelphia signed him. His first three seasons were in the Venezuelan Summer League, on a team affiliated with the Phillies. In 2012, Astudillo joined their Rookie ball team in the States.

Playing for nine seasons in the minor leagues, Astudillo was in three different organizations. After leaving Philadelphia, Astudillo hooked up with Atlanta in 2016, and with Arizona the following year. The 26-year-old had decent minor league numbers. Including data from his performances earlier this year, he averaged .309, drove in 278 runs, and singled 666 times.

On November 30, the Twins signed Astudillo to a minor league contract with the invitation to spring training. The 5’9″, 225 pound man with a baggy uniform took some jabs, with teammates comparing him to Bartolo Colon. All grief aside, Astudillo performed sub-par this spring, averaging .182 in 22 plate appearances. The Twins demoted him to AAA to start the year, where he had decent stats. Astudillo was brought up when the organization put Taylor Motter on the 7-day concussion DL after running into the outfield wall.

Manager Paul Molitor plugged Astudillo instantly into the line-up June 30 versus the Cubs, signifying his MLB debut. The hopeful made an impact right away, going 1-for-2. Astudillo racked up 5 hits and averaged .455 in his first three games. However, since that spurt, he has not recorded a hit in the previous four games that he partook in.

Contrary to other Twins’ players, Astudillo likes to take a lot of swings early in the count, therefore he has more chances to hit the ball. Last year in Triple-A, he only struck out four times in 128 plate appearances. Compare that to this year when he whiffed nine times in Rochester. Those figures would suggest that he is a solid contact batter, which fans will appreciate.

Astudillo can play multiple positions, which include: catcher, first base, third base, and center field. In addition, he played some left field in his first game, which leads me to believe that he could play all outfield positions. The rookie’s versatility will bode well for him because the Twins could put him pretty much anywhere in case another player is hurt or playing poor. Although I hope the Twins brass will keep looking for upgrades, this is a good time for Astudillo to show what he can do!

In the end, if Astudillo can prove that his minor league strikeout rate will translate in the bigs, I see him staying in the line-up for the foreseeable future. Unless the Twins can grab a Mookie Betts type athlete!

Written by: Michael L. Sack

 

Posted by: gravessack | July 8, 2018

Vote Rosario!!

Eddie Rosario batting for the Minnesota Twins

Photo: startribune.com

The AL and NL rosters for the 2018 All-Star Game were announced earlier tonight. Starting pitcher Jose Berrios was selected to represent the Twins, but outfielder Eddie Rosario, who is in the top 10 in the AL with a .301 batting average, was not…for now at least. He is one of five AL candidates for the Final Vote, the last AL and NL roster spots. Fans can vote an unlimited number of times between now and Wednesday (July 11) at 3:00 p.m. CT.

There is no question Rosario should be in the All-Star Game. In addition to his .301 batting average, he has 18 home runs and 53 RBI, and leads the Twins with 13 multi-hit games this year, two of those being four-hit games. He also plays outstanding defense in left field.

So, click the link above and help Rosario go to the All-Star Game! Remember, you can vote an unlimited number of times until Wednesday at 3 p.m. He definitely deserves to be selected!

Written by: Sam Graves

Posted by: gravessack | July 4, 2018

USPSA Cups Round-Up; Minnesota Teams Struggle

The USPSA Conference Cup Series came to an end on July 1. It was a grand weekend at Turnstone’s Plassman Athletic Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Despite the Minnesota teams not getting the outcome that they had hoped for, they tried their best at making the experience a positive one. More on that later. But first, the nutshell results of each of the four power soccer tournaments from the bottom division on up.

Founders Cup: The championship match took place on June 30 with San Jose Flash in a match-up against Central Valley, out of California. The game was close throughout, but in the end, San Jose came up victorious by a 2-1 margin. For third place, Wisconsin upended the San Jose Rockets 4-1.

Presidents Cup: On June 30, a back-and-forth affair occurred as the title game between Chippewa Valley and Arizona was very offensive minded. Both teams kept scoring, with a seasoned Arizona team outlasting the Hooligans 8-6. Brooks Barracudas, from Florida, captured third by defeating Missouri’s River City Phoenix three to nil.

Champions Cup: The finale was between DASA, from St. Louis, and Ball State, out of Indiana, on July 1. Ball State played solid defense and captured the crown with a 2-0 result. Massachusetts’ PRHC Chariots went out and beat BORP, out of Barkeley, CA, 2-1 to capture the third position.

Premier Cup: On July 1, a grueling last game between two Indiana teams commenced. It was a tilt that had Turnstone going up against RHI Sudden Impact. RHI squeaked out the championship clincher by a score of 3-2. Circle City, also from Indiana, came in third when they defeated CNY United four to one.

As the Premier Cup was in its final stages, two teams from Minnesota ended up playing each other for fifth place. When the game’s clock ticked to the 40-minute mark on the last day, the Magic had shut out the Shockwave 5-0. It was surly a discouraging last game as these teams had loftier goals going into their tourney.

Meanwhile, for the Northern Lights, their quest for the Champions Cup took a hit when they went 1-3 in pool play. Except for an 4-1 loss to PRHC, all of their games were nail-biters. Unfortunately, the team earned a spot in the consolation round, which was played Sunday. In their first match of the day, Minnesota were victors against Boston by a score of one to nothing.

The Northern Lights’ final game against Atlanta Sting, which was to secure seventh, was crazy! In the first half, the referee tossed an Atlanta coach from the game for arguing. At the end of regulation, both teams had scored a goal. Early in the second overtime, Minnesota scored, setting them up for a victory. But, inexcusably, the referee called a foul on them with a second remaining. Atlanta pounded the penalty kick in, so the game continued on.

Teams started getting anxious, as three yellow cards were given. One of those being on me, when in the fifth overtime, I started pushing the goalie a little to hard, desperately trying to send the crowd home. The 10-minute sudden death frames kept ticking on by with both teams trying to find any way to score. Finally, in the 7th overtime and in the 102nd minute, the Northern Lights managed to push the 13-inch ball across the line for the 3-2 win. That was some game, since it lasted a few minutes more than a pro soccer game does!

The Power Soccer Development Group put on a memorable event, one of which won’t soon be forgotten. The conference cups conclude the USPSA season. We would like to congratulate each player on their performances!

And for my last game, although I didn’t score, it was a really fun one to play in!

Written by: Michael L. Sack

Posted by: gravessack | June 24, 2018

USPSA Conference Cups Are Upon Us

USPSA MK Battery Conference Cup Series iconWhile the FIFA World Cup keeps chugging along over in Russia, the United States is about to have a little soccer tournament themselves. Ok, I must confess, the word little may be a bit of an understatement! In fact, it is one of the largest adapted sports events that the U.S. hosts on an annual basis.

The 2018 United States Power Soccer Association‘s (USPSA) MK Battery Conference Cup Series will be held from June 28 to July 1 at the Plassman Athletic Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. 35 teams will gather for a weekend full of fast-paced action. The series consists of four tournaments: Founders, Presidents, Champions, and Premier.

The Founders and Presidents Conferences will get things rocking on Thursday, with the rest starting Friday. Each national tournament will be round-robin style. After concluding pool play, a bracket will be drawn up for the four tourneys. The single elimination knock-out stage will take place over two days, with the championship games being played on June 30 and July 1.

This will be the fairly new Plassman Center’s second time hosting this event, after getting great reviews for its first go-around in 2016. According to Fort Wayne’s website, the center is “the fourth largest Paralympic Sport Club in the United States.” The layout of the facility works great for events for power wheelchair users, as it has four hardwood courts. Each playing field even has two scoreboards. Since the complex has immense flexibility, bleachers can be moved around as the games grow bigger in importance.

During the weekend, three teams from Minnesota will be hitting the court. In the Premier Conference, the Shockwave and the Magic will be hoping for a championship run. Meanwhile, partaking in the Champions Cup, the Northern Lights will be seeking redemption after a disappointing 4th place finish last year.

There are a couple of paths for fans if they want to follow the action from afar. Visit the USPSA website for schedules, results, and connections to live streams. The live streams are made possible thanks to Power Soccer Shop, a company out of Zimmerman, Minnesota.

In addition, the USPSA is using the TeamSnap Tournaments app this year. The application has what the website has, but it is presumably easy to use and you can get up-to-the-minute results. After downloading the app, just sign in and search for “USPSA MK Battery Conference Cup Series 2018.”

The four-day competition will feature around 200 athletes who all have some sort of physical disability. If you have not witnessed a power soccer match, this would be a mighty fine place to start! Players, coaches, and officials will try their best to make the event memorable. After it is all said and done, who will be the four champions? We will soon find out!

And, by the way, you should follow the Northern Lights closely, as I am on the team!

Written by: Michael L. Sack

Posted by: gravessack | June 13, 2018

Twins Snag Belisle Back

Apparently, not satisfied by how the bullpen has been pitching, the front office is keeping an eye on who may become available. Currently, the relief core is doing a fine job, adding to a 4.08 ERA to date. That is not going to cut it, though, if they are aiming to get in the play-offs for the second consecutive year. General Manager Thad Levine knows that too, and he showed that by signing another reliever in Matt Belisle.

After disappointing the Indians brass this year, the club outright released Belisle June 11. Seeing that Belisle was a free man, Minnesota quickly snatched him up the next day at a cost of $800,000 for the rest of this season. Belisle comes back to Minnesota where he had a decent year in 2017. Cleveland was hoping that he would perform better this year, but that was not the case, as the 38-year-old currently has an ERA of 5.06 with just 4 strike outs in 10.2 innings of work.

The Twins are counting on Belisle to become the pitcher he was last season. In 62 appearances, the Austin native pitched to a 4.03 ERA, which resulted in 54 strikeouts. He was also the substitute closer in which he totaled 9 saves. Belisle was not dominant, but could get the job done when he was called upon.

Belisle came up with the Cincinnati Reds in 2003, pitching 8.2 innings en route to a 1-1 record. Due to failures, he did not pitch in the majors the next year. However, in 2007, he rebounded and got to be the starter for thirty games with the Reds. Ever since then, the righty has been a reliever.

After going to the bullpen full-time, Belisle’s best year was in 2011 with Colorado. The pitcher went 10-4, had a 3.35 ERA, and struck out 58. Pitching for 15 years on 6 teams, he will bring in his career record of 51-57 and 690 knock outs to the Twins relief department.

Belisle is the first player to be brought in mid-season on a major league contract. This is saying two things: that the Twins bosses are not impressed with the pitching they have and they want the relievers to perform better. The Twins know that they must keep winning to have hope, and Levine and CBO Derek Falvey won’t be stagnant if they see something that needs improving. I just do not know how much Belisle has left in the tank; let us hope they do!

Nevertheless, Belisle is excited to have another MLB stint. “I’m honored and very grateful to be back with the Twins,” mentioned Belisle in a recent Star Tribune video.

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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