Molitor had suggested starting Torii Hunter in right field, or having him pinch-hit, or sending a replacement out to allow him to walk to the dugout to a big ovation, but the 40-year-old Hunter rejected all such notions. Molitor even called Hunter again Sunday morning to make sure he hadn’t changed his mind, but the veteran said he didn’t want a manufactured “moment.”
“I’ve had my moment,” he said.
This Twins season was full of surprises, but this tidbit about Torii demurring from the spotlight might be the most surprising thing to occur this season. Maybe he is gaining some wisdom in his old age, which makes me believe that he is more likely to retire. Supposedly, we'll find out after the college football season.
As for the game, this had a real spring training road game feel to it. Ricky Nolasco was only allowed 50 pitches and pitched like he hadn't been on the mound in months (which was nearly true). The young kids were all in the lineup with a few veteran bench players getting a chance to play an entire game since most of them hadn't played much this month while the Twins were still in contention.
The highlight of the game was Max Kepler getting his first major league hit on a single to right field. What was real surprising is he was batting third, which should give you some idea of what the Twins feel about his future as a hitter.
As for some end of the year stuff, it was nice to see Sano keep his OPS above .900 despite him cooling off late in the season. It was hard to say how much of that was the hamstring that was bothering him, but still, a .916 OPS at age 22 is pretty much off the charts good.
While it may not be surprising that a middle infielder finished second the team in OPS, the fact that it was Eduardo Escobar probably is to many. He took off in the second half once the Twins finally decided to stick with him at shortstop while All-Star Brian Dozier slumped to a .639 OPS in the second half.
I have some more thoughts on this surprising run later, but I think it's safe to say the Twins are better now than they were at the beginning of the season. I also have some grievances I would like to air, but I'll save that for Festivus.