Notebook: Coaches 'really pleased' with Ben Revere's arm strength
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Minnesota Twins outfielder Ben Revere overthrew a cutoff man during full-squad workouts on Monday.
Normally this would be grounds for punishment on a team that sorely lacked solid fundamentals in 2011.
But for Revere -- whose aforementioned throw from near the left-field warning track sailed just over the head of shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishoka behind the infield dirt -- overthrowing anybody might actually be a positive sign.
Revere had one of the weaker throwing arms of any outfielder in baseball last year, but he spent the offseason attempting to improve it. The main questions are:
A.) How much can a 23-year-old outfielder legitimately improve his arm strength?
B.) How much does a weak arm cancel out elite speed and range?
Well, for one, the scouts at Baseball Info Solutions rated Revere's arm as costing the Twins five runs below average per 1,000 innings last year. His range, however, gained the Twins 15 runs above average per 1,000 innings. That's a net of +10 runs per 1,000 innings, even with a weak arm.
As for the improved arm strength, outfield coach Jerry White says it's noticeable.
"He's doing better," White said. "I'm surprised. He actually got on it. He got on a couple things during the winter. I'm glad, I'm really pleased with what I've seen the (first) couple days."
Revere told 1500 ESPN in January that he spent the offseason playing long-toss with a football every day for nearly two months. He said throwing footballs every day helped improve the amount of backspin he could put on a baseball.
"The ball is coming out of his hand," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's working a lot in left field this spring. He's making sure to throw to the right cutoff man with all the angles to the ball. He'll get that in games a lot more than those workouts. He's a pretty good little player who can do some things."
Revere is currently penciled in as the Twins' left fielder, where he won't have to make long throws to second and third base.
"I wouldn't say Ben's ever been embarrassed by it, but I know he's really tried to address it the past couple years," special instructor Paul Molitor said in an interview with 1500 ESPN's Reusse & Mackey Show on Monday. "He gets up there and people say, 'Gosh, why haven't you guys tried to fix him?'
"But believe me, we've been trying for three, four years to try and get some more arm strength out of him. And I just think diligence and consistency has brought a little more strength to that arm. You just want it functional."
• The Twins split into three full-team fielding groups for cutoff drills and other communication-related items. The starting infield was 1B Justin Morneau, 2B Alexi Casilla, SS Jamey Carroll and 3B Danny Valencia. The second-team infield was 1B Joe Mauer, 2B Brian Dinkelman, SS Tsuyoshi Nishioka and 3B Sean Burroughs. The starting outfield was LF Ben Revere, CF Denard Span and RF Josh Willingham, and the second stringers LF Trevor Plouffe, CF Joe Benson and RF Rene Tosoni.
• Joel Zumaya spoke with reporters early on Monday morning about his future, but he remains undecided between Tommy John surgery or retirement.
123: Stolen bases for Molitor after the age of 35. Molitor has been very hands-on with baserunning drills and tutorials throughout the past few days in Fort Myers.
22: Times Molitor was caught stealing after age 35.
• RHP Nick Blackburn has thrown two live batting practice sessions since group workouts began on Friday. When asked how his surgically-repaired right forearm is holding up, Blackburn said, "It feels really good." Blackburn said he's pleased with the amount of movement he's been able to generate with his pitches early in camp.
• INF Luke Hughes (shoulder) took 25 dry swings on Monday and reported no problems. He still hasn't taken live batting practice or thrown a ball since spring training began, but it looks like he's getting closer.
"It's the Boston Red Sox. I don't worry about their policies and they don't worry about ours I'm sure. Every club has their own policies. We have ours. We've been pretty good about things, and if that continues, we'll be fine. And if it doesn't continue, then we'll get pissed off."
-- Manager Ron Gardenhire, on the Red Sox banning alcohol in their clubhouse
The Twins have two more full-group workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday before Thursday's 'B' game against the Boston Red Sox.