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Updated: April 10th, 2012 10:12pm
Mauer, Span among Twins not concerned about early lack of offense

Mauer, Span among Twins not concerned about early lack of offense

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- A four-game sample size does not equal a trend.

But the Minnesota Twins offense has been so quiet early on -- six runs on just 20 hits -- that it warrants some extra attention.

No team in baseball has scored fewer runs. Only the Pirates have tallied fewer hits (19). And no team has hit more groundballs (68%).

"Obviously this isn't the way we wanted to start off in the first four games," said Joe Mauer, who has two hits and two walks in 16 plate appearances. "We were hoping to go 4 and 0. But this is where we're at, and we know that it isn't going to be like this the whole year. ...

"It's a little frustrating. With a week or two weeks left in spring training we were swinging the bats pretty good. We had some guys put some pretty good starts against us. It started off with Arrieta opening night. I thought he was pretty good. Today Wilson's ball was moving all over the place. ... But we've got to be able to put together good at-bats and get some runs across the board.

As many flaws as the Twins needed to fix from 2011 to 2012, offense seemed to be the least of their worries heading north from Fort Myers.

Jamey Carroll, hitless through four games, owns a .366 on-base percentage since 2007. Justin Morneau scalded the ball in his last 10 spring games. Mauer hit .287 in his worst season. Ryan Doumit owns a .441 career slugging percentage. Josh Willingham -- one of the lone bright spots, with two home runs and a double -- averages 27 home runs per 162 games, plus a .361 on-base percentage.

Among the group of Chris Parmelee, Trevor Plouffe and Danny Valencia, it seemed likely at least one of them would emerge as a consistent offensive threat this season. It's likely one or more of them will when given more than four games.

But right now, it's as if the weight of 99 losses has proved difficult to shed.

"This is the calm before the storm," said Doumit, 1-for-10 with a walk and a single. "Obviously our offense hasn't been there yet but you look at some of the names in this lineup. Once they wake up it's going to be a dangerous thing. Four games, obviously it's not ideal, 0-4, but we're waking up."

"We're getting close. We feel like we're going to win every game. That's the approach that we take and that's how we honestly feel. Don't wake up the sleeping dragon because once that happens, hitting is contagious and we've got some thump in this lineup. Once everybody starts clicking on all cylinders we're going to be pretty good."

Denard Span shared a similar lack of concern.

"Yeah, I think we've got all the pieces you need for an all-balanced lineup. We've got a little bit of speed, we've got guys that can hit for average, and we've also got guys that can hit for power, so we definitely aren't worried about that yet, as far as our offense. We know it's going to take something to get us clicking, and once it does start clicking it's going to be a lot of fun."

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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