Wetmore: 5 thoughts on Santana in center, cast-off to walk-off, Arcia
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MINNEAPOLIS - The Twins won in dramatic fashion Tuesday to open a series against the defending World Champions on the right foot. Chris Parmelee hit a two-run, walk-off home run to give the Twins the 8-6 victory.
This column presents 5 thoughts from Tuesday's game.
As always, feel free to ask any questions or make any observations in the comments. If you have a unique baseball observation during a game, feel free to share it with me on Twitter (@DerekWetmore).
1. Chris Parmelee in six weeks went from cast-off to walk-off winner. How about that for an unlikely hero? At the end of spring training, the Twins snuck Parmelee through waivers and outrighted him off the 40-man roster. A series of injuries and his own hitting at Triple-A Rochester prompted the Twins to call him up. Ron Gardenhire exhibited trust not pinch-hitting Josmil Pinto for Parmelee with two outs in the bottom of the ninth against lefty Andrew Miller.
Parmelee paid back the favor - and atoned for an earlier ball he misplayed into a triple.
2. Oswaldo Arcia's rehab stint is up Thursday and he may get recalled from Triple-A Rochester. Alternatively, the Twins could option him to Rochester.
3. Shortstop Danny Santana was one of two shortstops in the lineup Tuesday not playing short. The 23-year-old started in center field against righthander Jake Peavy, while switch-hitter Aaron Hicks sat on the bench. Eduardo Nunez served as the DH and Eduardo Escobar was the shortstop.
(I didn't count Trevor Plouffe or Brian Dozier, who began their professional careers as shortstops, because there are plenty of former shortstops in the Majors who now play another position full-time.)
Santana made two good catches. In a tie game in the ninth, Dustin Pedroia led off with a line drive to center off closer Glen Perkins. It appeared Santana broke immediately and made the catch while running in. That's a tough read from center field. Santana also made one seemingly bad read in the sixth inning but his speed made up for it. Mike Napoli drove a ball to deep center, and once Santana got on the correct course, he raced under it to make an over-the-shoulder catch. He bobbled it but recovered to make a fine grab. He also nearly missed a cutoff man (Joe Mauer) in the seventh inning, which didn't hurt in that instance but serves as an example that center field requires more than speed and arm strength.
Generally, I don't think teams should expect to simply put a speedy player with a rocket arm in center and make it work. Santana made it work for the day Tuesday.
3(b). Santana was picked off first based when he got caught leaning the wrong way leading off. That came in the eighth inning of a tie game with one out and Joe Mauer at the plate. He's been an exciting player to watch but he's unrefined.
4. I think it makes sense to add thicker padding to the outfield walls at Target Field. The Twins have lost two centerfielders to concussions this season, although it may be that neither one needs a prolonged stay on the disabled list. Aaron Hicks has returned and Sam Fuld said Tuesday he's doing better. The one-time investment is not the issue. It's whether or not MLB will allow a mid-season change to the composition of the wall.
Might the Twins add padding before they host the 2014 All-Star Game? We'll see.
There were a few people making fun of that decision Tuesday on social media. Why?