By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS – The Twins bullpen is expected to have a much different look for the 2011 season since the club could lose a number of key contributors from last year’s relief corps through free agency.
On Wednesday, the Twins appeared to say goodbye to the first pitcher from their large group of free agent relievers.
According to multiple reports, right-hander Matt Guerrier is on the verge of signing a three-year, $12 million contract with the Dodgers.
Guerrier, 32, spent seven seasons with the Twins and played a key role for the club in the late innings over the past few years. He posted a career 3.38 ERA in Minnesota over 472 innings while twice leading the league in appearances. He’s thrown at least 69 innings in each of the last six seasons and since 2007, Guerrier has worked 311 2/3 innings.
Guerrier was a Type A free agent, but the Twins didn’t offer him arbitration, meaning they won’t receive any draft picks as compensation for his departure.
One day that’s always a little chaotic for beat writers at
Spring Training is when the club’s charity golf outing takes place and for the
Twins, that day was Thursday. It means the workouts go by a little quicker than
normal and afterward access to the players is limited with guys hurrying to
make their 1:00 p.m. tee time.
For me, it’s also the one day where I can qualify golf as work.
Having played golf for nearly my entire life, I’ll admit that I hardly pass up
the chance to hit the course. That’s especially true when it’s for a good
cause. So when the Twins staff has asked me in each of the last three years to
take part in the annual charity golf scramble outing, I gladly say yes —
getting permission from the boss first, of course.
This year I was lucky to play with three wonderful people who all live in the
Fort Myers/Naples area. Besides being great conversationalists over the four-plus
hours of our round, they also possessed some golf skills as well. We finished a
respectable 9 under par, having birdied five straight holes to finish our
round (nothing like getting on a hot streak late, right?). But we were not even close to the
winning groups. The tournament took place on two 18-hole courses – Nick Punto’s
group took first on one course with a 57 (15 under par) and Matt Guerrier’s
group finished first on the other with a 56 (16 under par).
My highlight of the round came on our last par three when I
stuck my iron shot four feet from the hole — good enough to beat out Kent
Hrbek for closest to the pin.
But the story of the day belonged to outfielder Dustin Martin,
who played for Double-A New Britain last season. Martin recorded the lone hole
in one of the day – the problem was it came on a mulligan. For the non-golfers,
teams can usually buy “extra shots” to use during their rounds. So if no player
hits a good shot or someone just wants a second try, one member of the group can hit again — which is exactly what Martin
did on that particular par three.
If Martin had hit the ball in the hole on his first try, he
would have won a Bose Stereo sound system. Instead, he just won closest to the
pin on that hole – with a very unusual “Zero inches” marked on the card.