Minnesota Timberwolves (UP ⬆️)
Minnesota being the key word here. Former MLB star Alex Rodriguez vowed to keep the Timberwolves in town in the comment section of an Instagram post Tuesday. Glen Taylor remains the franchise’s majority stakeholder but Rodriguez and friend, entrepreneur Marc Lore, will eventually take control. There’s been speculation for months that the new owners would relocate the franchise (Seattle has been rumored as a possible destination). Minnesota fans can rejoice as a potential move doesn't appear to be in A-Rod's plans. Instagram comments are legally binding after all, right? 😅
J.A. Happ, Twins pitcher (DOWN ⬇️)
Minnesota signed the well-traveled 38-year-old in January with expectations that he could post a respectable earned run average, similar to his 3.47 ERA as a Yankee in 2020. Happ was clicking through his first five starts in the Twins’ rotation, allowing just six runs in 28 1/3 innings (1.91 ERA). But Man-O-Man he’s been singing a different tune lately. Happ has surrendered five or more runs in four of his last seven starts, a stretch that featured a high of nine and a low of two. Perhaps the worst news is he’s given Minnesota no length this season -- Happ has pitched five or fewer innings in eight of his 12 starts -- forcing the Twins to reach into a bullpen that’s been nothing shy of cataclysmic.
Napheesa Collier, Lynx forward (UP ⬆️)
Collier sat out Minnesota’s first three games this season to clear COVID-19 protocols after returning from overseas. She’s been a joy to watch in the Lynx’s seven games since and a big reason why the team has won four of its last six. Collier scored 27 points on 10-of-17 shooting Tuesday night against Chicago, the third time this season she’s eclipsed the 20-point mark. Collier leads the Lynx with 17.6 points per contest and is averaging the second-most rebounds (6.1), steals (1.3) and blocks (1.1) on the team.
Kenta Maeda, Twins pitcher (UP ⬆️)
“King Kenta” didn’t factor into the decision his first time back on the hill Monday in more than three weeks but he did strike out seven batters in four innings of work. Maeda’s season thus far has been frustrating to say the least -- he currently owns a career-worst 5.01 ERA and has surrendered three or more runs in five of his 10 starts. He’s pitched deeper than 5 2/3 innings just once (six innings April 7 against Detroit) and has exceeded 75 pitches in all but two outings. Still, Maeda’s seven Ks in his return from the IL is the second-most batters he’s whiffed in a game this year. The Twins’ one-time ace will look to regain more of his form in a favorable matchup against Texas this weekend.
Minnesota Vikings front-seven (UP ⬆️)
Danielle Hunter. Anthony Barr. Eric Kendricks. Dalvin Tomlinson. Michael Pierce. Those are just a few of the starters. The list goes on: Sheldon Richardson, Stephen Weatherly, Patrick Jones II, Troy Dye, Ryan Connelly, Chazz Surratt, Jalyn Holmes. Minnesota's front-seven is shaping up to be SCARY in 2021. 😱 We'll leave it at that ... for now.
Byron Buxton, Twins outfielder (UP ⬆️ DOWN ⬇️ UP ⬆️ DOWN ⬇️)
Ahhh, the rollercoaster ride continues. Buxton was one of the best players in MLB at the beginning of the 2021 season. From ridiculous diving snares to shots into the stratosphere, he looked like an early American League MVP candidate. Then the injury bug caught up to Buxton and he’s been unable to shake it. The latest on Minnesota’s center fielder’s path back to the big leagues is this: He tore it up during his rehab stint with the St. Paul Saints and has traveled with the team to Seattle; claims he’s feeling 100% but has yet to be given the green light by manager Rocco Baldelli because he insists Buck will say whatever he can to get back in the lineup, even if he’s not necessarily ready to go. Of course, nobody wants Buxton to return as badly as Minnesota, the club is simply taking all possible precautions so that when he does come back, he’s around for the long haul. In the meantime here’s an interesting note: Despite not playing in the majors since May 6, Buxton ranks third among AL outfielders in All-Star votes.