Twins' defense even better than anticipated

Twins' defense even better than anticipated

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins expected their defense to be strong this season, having acquired shortstop J.J. Hardy and second baseman Orlando Hudson to join an already solid infield.

But the club's defense overall has perhaps been even better than anyone expected. The Twins have committed just 10 errors this season, the fewest in all of baseball. The next closest team is the San Francisco Giants, who have 19 errors on the year.

The Twins are also the only team in baseball without an error from their third basemen. Nick Punto, Brendan Harris, Luke Hughes, Alexi Casilla and Matt Tolbert have combined for 129 chances without recording an error.

"That's something special," said Twins first baseman Justin Morneau. "Hopefully it gives our pitchers confidence that if they get the ground ball [we'll get the out]. And it's not like they're just standing there and catching stuff. They're making good defensive plays. Sometimes those errors can be misleading, but with those guys, Nicky's all over the place. Whoever we put over there [at third] has done a great job."

The addition of Hardy, who has yet to make an error this season at shortstop, has certainly made a big difference as well. When the club was without Hardy for 17 games due to a bruised left wrist, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire noted how much they missed his presence up the middle of the field.

But while Gardenhire said his team has been playing good defense, he doesn't base his assessment of his defense on errors. The skipper said he didn't even know how many his club had made this season. Instead, he's aware of other things that his fielders are doing to help improve their play so far this year.

"The mental mistakes aren't happening, which is a good thing," Gardenhire said. "We're throwing the ball to the right bases. We're catching the balls we're supposed to catch and not giving extra outs."

Others have noticed how well the Twins have been playing defensively too.

"Going outside hasn't affected their defense," said Rangers manager Ron Washington. "People said in the [Metrodome] they had no bad hops, but now that they're outside, they can still catch that rock."