Hope Springs Again: Twins Look to Rebound in 2014

Play ball! The Minnesota Twins started their home season on April 7, with a series against the Oakland A’s. After last year’s disappointment, Twins fans are looking for signs of hope in the new season.

Big changes
Twins star Joe Mauer will move from catcher to first base. The team hopes reducing the defensive demands on Mauer will keep him productive at the plate and healthy for the long-term.

New faces:
Kurt Suzuki has some big shoes to fill replacing Mauer behind the plate. Suzuki will be guiding two newcomers to the Twins starting rotation. Ricky Nelasco and Phil Hughes have had success and played on playoff teams. But both have shown signs of inconsistency over their careers.

Top questions
Can Josh Willingham bounce back from an awful 2013? Can the Twins resist bringing up top prospect Byron Buxton?  How soon, and how well will the club’s other top minor leaguer, Miguel Sano, recover from elbow surgery?

Most experts pick the Twins to stay near the bottom of the AL Central. Still, if the pitching improves, Mauer responds to his new role, and Willingham plays to potential, there could be significant improvement.

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