After working this spring to make his comeback in the Major Leagues, former Twins third baseman Corey Koskie announced Saturday morning that he was retiring from baseball.
Koskie, who was out of baseball for the last 2 1/2 years due to post-concussion syndrome, had signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs and played for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic. Koskie felt he proved he can still play in the league, but he didn’t want to risk another injury and wanted to spend more time with his family, including his three young sons, ages 8, 6, and 3.
“I just decided that it’s not worth it,” Koskie said on a conference call with the Minnesota media. “It would be a tough day for me if I ended up getting another concussion and had to quit because of that. But I just decided the risk/reward is not worth it.”
David Winfree, who is suffering from the same flu as Justin Morneau, made the trip to Clearwater on Saturday. Manager Ron Gardenhire hadn’t gotten an update on how Morneau was feeling, but he expected the first baseman to go to the ballpark on Saturday and complete a light workout.
Phillies starter Chan Ho Park was scratched and right-hander Kyle Kendrick will start in his place. And yes the pitchers are batting in the National League park today so R.A. Dickey, Jesse Crain and Craig Breslow will be among those getting their swings in during the contest.
Here are the lineups
Denard Span, LF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Brian Buscher, 1B
Luke Hughes, 3B
Carlos Gomez, CF
Jose Morales, C
Brendan Harris, SS
R.A. Dickey, P
Miguel Cairo, SS
Geoff Jenkins, RF
Chase Utley, 2B
Ryan Howard, 1B
John Mayberry J., CF
Matt Stairs, LF
Pedro Feliz, 3B
Chris Coste, C
Kyle Kendrick, P
Corey Koskie’s comeback won’t just be limited to playing for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic.
The Cubs announced Saturday that they had signed the former Twins third baseman to a Minor League contract for the ’09 season, which includes an invitation to Major League camp. Koskie is scheduled to report to Cubs camp in Mesa, Ariz. when Canada’s run in the Classic comes to an end.
Koskie had been working out on the back fields of the Twins Minor League complex in Fort Myers, Fla. recently to get ready for Team Canada.
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.
Spring Training is a time for new beginnings and one of the most inspiring stories of this spring is taking place on the back fields of the Lee County Sports Complex.
Former Twins third baseman Corey Koskie is working out there, with the Twins permission, as he tries to make Team Canada for next month’s World Baseball Classic.
Koskie, 35, hasn’t played in a Major League game since July 5, 2006 when, as the Brewers third baseman, he suffered a concussion that left him with dizziness and headaches that would not go away. After two-plus seasons out of baseball, Koskie hopes that the Classic could be a showcase for him and might lead to him getting another shot in the big leagues.
The fact that Koskie is even back on a baseball field is inspiring to anyone that watched him go through his rough ordeal — when he couldn’t drive at times or even play with his kids. One person that is particularly encouraged by Koskie’s latest step is Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
“He’s one of the all-time favorites,” Gardenhire said. “It’s nice to see him back on the field. He’s been going through a lot. That’s the big thing with Koskie. It’s actually good to see him not bouncing off the walls when he’s walking down the hallway because he’s dizzy.”
It was a little bit of a busy day so I didn’t get to watch much of the pitchers fielding work today. Most of the position players have already arrived (some new faces on Tuesday were Matt Tolbert, Trevor Plouffe and Deibinson Romero). While the pitchers worked out, the position guys spent the morning doing some work on the back fields of the complex. I think I’ve counted seven players who I haven’t seen in the clubhouse yet: Denard Span, Delmon Young, Jason Pridie, Dustin Martin, Danny Valencia, David Winfree and Alejandro Machado. Position players must report by Friday so it’s likely we’ll see more of these players starting to arrive in the next few days.
Here are a few other things that were noteworthy on Day 2 of camp:
- Twins general manager Bill Smith said that the club expects to finalize Luis Ayala’s contract soon, possibly as early as Wednesday. The final medical report on Ayala is expected at that time. When the signing is completed, the Twins will have to create a spot on the 40-man roster for him. It’s still unclear which player might be outrighted or released to make room for the pitcher.
- When answering the questions about players taking part in the World Baseball Classic, Gardenhire joked that he’s most concerned about his players facing each other in the event. Closer Joe Nathan could pitch to first baseman Justin Morneau when Team USA plays Team Canada in the opening round in Toronto. And they’ve already kidded about what might happen at that point. “My guys are talking about buzzing each other now,” Gardenhire said while shaking his head.