The latest word is that former USI standout Darin Mastroianni probably will be the starting center fielder for the Minnesota Twins when they open their season. Recall that Mastroianni was a speedy, base-stealing infielder for USI — he had 64 steals in 67 attempts in 2008, his final year with the Eagles, while batting a team-best .409. Well, he hasn’t changed a bit. Last year he swiped 21 bases in 24 attempts over 29 games for the Twins after being acquired from Toronto, which drafted him out of USI. Mastroianni batted .279 over 578 games in the minors, with 214 stolen bases. With the major league game reverting to its more traditional roots — moving runners along, using speed on the base paths, stealing bases — a player like Mastroianni suddenly has become a valuable commodity. And he would seem a natural for center field, which requires somebody who can cover a lot territory in a hurry.
By the way, we’ve posted a story here about Mastroianni’s reaction to major league baseball’s new balk rule. The story also quotes one of his Twins teammates, former Castle High School standout Jamey Carroll.