Friday, March 30, 2012

Albert Pujols, Eric Hosmer Star in 11-8 Shoot-out; Brian Dinkelman Lead Twins over Pirates

Players of the Day for Thursday, March 29, 2012

Grapefruit League

Because of last season's injuries to stars Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, a last-place finish in the AL Central and off-season trades - particularly that of Michael Cuddyer, which sent the OF/DH to Colorado - the general perception around the Minnesota clubhouse is that there is open competition for a lot of positions.

Brian Dinkelman
That's why any number of minor leaguers are getting extended looks, like utility infielder-outfielder Brian Dinkelman, who spent most of last season in AAA Rochester (NY), but batted a respectable .301 with the big club in a 23-game look-see.

Coaches got an eyeful in Minnesota's 11-4 rout of the Pirates, as Dinkelman was stationed in left field and went 3-for-4 at the plate, with a pair of singles and his first homer of the spring. Dinkelman drove in four runs and scored twice as the Twins pounded five Pittsburgh hurlers for 15 hits.

Even with all the moving parts, Minnesota is having a pretty good exhibition season. They are 16-12 in Grapefruit League play and are 11-4 on the road.

Albert Pujols
Cactus League

In Thursday's slug-fest special, the LA Angels and Kansas City Royals combined for 32 hits, including 14 extra base hits, of which six cleared the fences and the bases.

Eric Hosmer
At the end of it all, the Angels, which had 20 of the base knocks, came out on top, 11-8, with Albert Pujols going 4-for-4, with a double, three singles, four RBI and a run scored. The three-time NL MVP is batting .388 with four home runs and 14 RBI this spring, after signing onto a monster deal with LA in the off-season.

For the Royals, Eric Hosmer continues to impress. The second-year pro socked his fifth homer of the spring, along with a single and double in a 3-for-4 effort with three RBI and a pair of runs.

Hosmer is having an all-star kind of exhibition season, batting .418 with five long balls and 23 RBI. As a rookie with the Royals in 2011, Hosmer belted 19 home runs and drove in 78 runs while batting a solid .293 in 128 games.

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