The Free Press, Mankato, MN

April 10, 2009

Random observations

The Monday print column is likely to be about the Twins catching situation, so I was quite interested in watching Jose Morales deal with the challenge of handling R.A. Dickey's knuckleball. Morales did a good job receiving, but he can't be happy about the dropped foul popup or his inability to get a throw off on a stolen base. Most important, somebody certainly goofed with the decision to throw Paul Konerko two consecutive fastballs. Dickey's fastball is useful only as a change of pace from his knuckler; that's why he's converted himself into a knuckleball pitcher. Bert Blyleven was properly critical of the pitch selection. I don't know who's idea it was, but Dickey threw it and probably deserves most of the blame.

Still, the fact remains that Dickey pitched most of the game out of the stretch and nobody advanced on a wild pitch or passed ball. That's a plus for Morales.

• I really liked the Kansas City ball park, which I still think of as Royals Stadium (and not as Kaufman Stadium). My immediate reaction to what little I've seen of the remake is not good, but it's getting very good reviews from people who've seen more of it than I have.

• Nick Adenhart's shocking death in an early-morning auto accident Thursday puts an end to an intriguing prospect progression. Adenhart has been prominent in Baseball America's prospect coverage for years — BA named him the national Youth Player of the Year in 2003 — to the point that I was quite surprised to learne that he was 22 at the time of his death. I've been reading about him for so long I figured he was 25 or so.

He had the Tommy John ligament replacement surgery when he was a high school senior, which knocked him out of the first round. He signed with Anaheim as a 14th round pick and made a splash in the low minors, popping up high on prospect lists again. Then he staggered a bit in the high minors (the Angels' affliates tend to be in high-offense leagues) and the hype not only quieted, he started to appear to be a bust. (BA's obituary says he remained a top prospect, but the fact is that his numbers in Double A and Triple A were not good, and he would not have been in the Angels rotation at the time of his death had they not had John Lackey, Kelvin Escobar and Ervin Santana on the disabled list.)

What might have been, we now will never know.

• Updating the Gardy Watch through Friday night: Two non-starts for Delmon Young, two for Jason Kubel, one for Carlos Gomez. Young's penchant for swinging at the first thing he sees is already causing me to rethink my position that the best alignment leaves Micheal Cuddyer out of the mix.

e-mail Edward Thoma