Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Off the Mark: Grudzielanek’s Comeback with Minnesota is Over


Veteran second baseman Mark Grudzielanek’s attempt to revive his career with the Minnesota Twins has come to an end.

Minor league director Jim Rantz announced that the Twins had released Grudzielanek after Sunday’s game for Class AA New Britain.

Through eight games with New Britain, Grudzielanek, 39, was hitting a meager .267 (8-for-30) and had committed two errors at the keystone corner.

Grudzielanek signed July 19 in hopes of returning to Major League Baseball after going unsigned last offseason.

He last played in the majors on August 1, 2008, for the Royals before an ankle injury ended his season.

The Twins originally signed Grudzielanek with hopes that he could provide depth and a veteran presence at a position where the team has struggled mightily this season.

Minnesota second basemen have combined to “hit” .186 this season, ranking last in the majors and serving as a veritable black-hole in the club’s lineup.

The Trade Deadline addition of Gold Glove shortstop Orlando Cabrera provided the club with more depth up the middle and ultimately spelled the end of the Mark Grudzielanek experiment with the Twins.

Grudzielanek is a former All-Star and Gold Glover winner and it is a shame that he couldn’t stick with the Twins.

His veteran presence and “gamer” attitude alone would have made him the ideal mentor for young second baseman Alexi Casilla and a great overall presence in the dugout during a pennant race.

Unfortunately, Minnesota’s refusal to end the abysmal “Nick Punto as an everyday player” experiment has ruined any chance of Grudzielanek bringing the aforementioned intangibles and his .290 career average to the Metrodome for a run at the AL Central title.

The future doesn’t look too bright for Grudzielanek as more teams continue to push youth rather than signing veterans.

As such, after spending more than a year away from the game; this release may be the end of Grudzielanek’s career.

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