It sure didn’t take long for the Twins new third baseman to get a little taste of Minnesota nice.
While Crede was standing alongside the batting cage on one of the fields at the Lee County Sports Complex on Sunday morning and waiting to take his first round of batting practice as a Twin, a fan sitting in the stands yelled out, “Welcome to Minnesota, Joe Crede.” And Crede responded with a wave of his bat and a head nod in the man’s direction.
Crede looked good during his first workout with the club. Many people commented on what a “big” guy Crede is, a statement based upon the third baseman’s athletic-build stature. He certainly looks like a ballplayer and if you didn’t know that he’d had back issues, you wouldn’t have been able to tell by Sunday’s workout.
I spent quite a bit of time around Crede while I was an MLB.com intern in Chicago during the ’05 season (yes, Twins fans, I spent a year writing about the White Sox — although I did spend time reporting on the Cubs and Brewers that season too). He’s a quiet and humble guy from Missouri who possesses a very strong work ethic. If there was a player who fits perfectly into the Twins clubhouse, it’s Crede. By watching Crede joke around with Justin Morneau during their BP
session and fist pumping with pitcher Joe Nathan, it’s easy to see that
he’ll mix right in with the group.
As for my initial thoughts on the move, it appears to be a great nab for the Twins. Considering that the Twins paid $6.6 million to Mike Lamb for 81 games last season, the $2.5 million guaranteed to Crede seems like a very low risk. Crede has shown to make some spectacular plays at third. And if he can stay healthy and produce a similar season to the one he had in 2006 when he recorded 30 homers and 94 RBIs, Crede would be well worth the $7 million he could earn.
Other news from the day:
- I watched Corey Koskie take batting practice on one of the back fields of the Twins’ complex on Sunday. Koskie certainly has come a long way in his recovery and it appears he’s reached another big step — making Team Canada for this year’s World Baseball Classic. Although he wasn’t on Canada’s provisional roster, Koskie will join the team when camp opens on March 2 at the Blue Jays facility in Dunedin, Fla.
- Gardenhire said he hasn’t yet considered how he might structure the lineup now with the addition of Crede. There seems to be a number of ways he could slot Crede into that group — and it would be interesting to hear all of your thoughts on what the Twins batting order might look like for Opening Day.
Restaurant of the Day: Patinella’s Chicken Grill. Okay so this isn’t your typical sitdown restaurant (more like healthy fast food) but it’s one of the favorites of the Twins beat writers and also the team’s players and coaches. Located in the Plantation Shoppes, just down the street from the ballpark, it features a number of chicken and rice and gyro dishes. The #3 with yellow rice is one of my favorites. I would label this a must-visit place for anyone visiting Fort Myers.