Catching Up with Some Former Twins

It’s easy to keep up with the big names after they leave – Hunter, Cuddyer, Kubel, Santana, etc. – but what about the other guys? Some of them became famous for one, special year, others were infamous for their failures and some stuck around long enough to etch a small place in our hearts, while others simply vanished quickly without trace.

Matt Capps, RP, FA: Everybody’s favorite former closer inked a minor league deal with Cleveland this spring, but was released in late March.

Alexi Casilla, IF, Baltimore: He was given many chances to succeed in Twins Territory, but never fully grasped any of them. Now he’s brought his act to Baltimore. We’ll always have Game 163, Alexi!

Jesse Crain, RP, White Sox: A key contributor to the Sox pen, Twins fans will probably see plenty of him in 2013.

Matt Guerrier, RP, LA Dodgers: Like Crain, a mainstay in the Twins pen for the late 00s, now he’s doing the same for the Dodgers.

Brendan Harris, IF, LA Angels: The political junkie came over in the Delmon Debacle prior to the 2008 season, was released June 2010 and toiled in the minors for Baltimore and Colorado from 2011-12. Harris inked a minor league contract with the Angels this spring and earned a spot on the Opening Day roster. Welcome back Brendan!

LaTroy Hawkins, RP, NY Mets: Since leaving Minnesota after the 2003 season, the Hawk has pitched for the Cubs, Giants, Orioles, Rockies, Yankees, Astros, Brewers, Angels and now the Mets. 40-years-old and still going strong!

Philip Humber, SP, Houston: Part of the ill-fated Johan Santana bounty, Humber struggled during his brief stint in Minny. He was scooped up by the White Sox and had some success, including a perfect game last April 21. He was picked up off waivers by the now American League Astros in November.

Jason Marquis, SP, San Diego: When the Twins struggled early last season, Marquis was one of the first to be tossed under the bus. Sure he was mediocre, but there were also complaints he worked too slow (apparently the Twins scouts hadn’t noticed during his first 12 big league seasons). Anyway, he was claimed by the Padres, where the veteran has pitched respectably.

Jose Mijares, RP, San Francisco: The portly southpaw was picked up by Kansas City following the 2011 season and remained with the Royals until last August when he was claimed off waivers by the Giants. The move worked out well for him as the Giants won the World Series and he picked up one appearance in the Fall Classic.

Pat Neshek, RP, Oakland: The quirky sidewinder had a cult following during his days with the Twins and has been a successful set-up man in stints with the Padres and A’s over the past two seasons.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka, IF, Hanshin (Japan): The Japanese import has become the symbol of the Twins fall from grace since 2010. To his credit, he admitted fault and asked out of the final year of his contract, which guaranteed $3 million this season. Nishioka even declined the $250,000 buyout. Now back in his native Japan, the former Twin went 3-6 with 2 RBI in season opener for Hanshin.

Nick Punto, IF, LA Dodgers: Another source of angst from Twins fans, Punto has had a pretty good run since he left Minnesota. He picked up a World Series ring in St. Louis in 2011, opened the 2012 season with Boston and was dealt to LA in the Gonzalez/Crawford/Beckett blockbuster last August.

Jon Rauch, RP, Miami: The ill-tempered giant has pitched on one-year deals for Toronto and now the Mets since leaving Twins as a free agent.

Kevin Slowey, SP, Miami: If things had gone as planned, Slowey would be a mainstay in the Twins rotation and a very wealthy man today. Instead, he spent the entire 2012 season is the minors in the Cleveland organization before accepting an invite to spring training with Miami. Playing for former teammate Mike Redmond, he was a surprise addition to the Marlins Opening Day roster.

Danny Valencia, 3B, Baltimore (Norfolk): The ending isn’t as happy for Valencia. The Twins former “Thirdbaseman of the Future” was dumped off on Boston last August and then dealt to Baltimore for cash in November. He was unable to make the big club this spring and will open the season at Triple A Norfolk.

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