Injuries Deprive Twins' Wang-Wei Lin Of Experience





MINNEAPOLIS—The Twins still are evaluating Taiwanese outfielder Wang-Wei Lin's talent for baseball. But they already recognize his best quality: determination.

Lin signed with the Twins at age 18 in 2006, but by the time he had adjusted to a new culture, only one month remained in the '07 season. He batted .194 in 24 games in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

Lin returned in 2008, but after playing in pain for just four GCL games, doctors discovered he needed season-ending surgery to repair his right (throwing) elbow.

The following year, Lin was hitting .364 in the GCL when he collided with another outfielder while chasing a fly ball. Lin's jaw was broken and had to be wired shut, cruelly and prematurely ending another season after just 10 games.

Minnesota promoted Lin, a lefthanded batter, to low Class A Beloit in 2010 in hopes of jump-starting his development. But with only 38 games of experience in three seasons, the 22-year-old lagged behind the league. He batted .236/.342/.279 for the Snappers and hit just nine extra-base hits (one home run) in 280 at-bats.

After four seasons far from home, Lin has had little success but few regrets, at least none he's expressed to the Twins. He's committed to coming back in 2011, and the Twins suspect he'll finally make big strides with a full season behind him.

"This kid just keeps hanging in there and hanging in there, never giving up," farm director Jim Rantz said. "He wants to play. He's got goals in mind he intends to reach."

Those include displaying the quick bat with gap power that convinced the Twins to sign him in the first place. He's a decent outfielder, too, with the range for center field.

"Eventually we think his bat will come around. He's getting stronger, but he's not there yet," said Rantz, who expects Lin to start in Beloit again in 2011. "He's got a lot more talent than his numbers show. And obviously he's extremely motivated."

TWIN KILLINGS

• Outfielder Ben Revere batted 27-for-78 (.346) with nine stolen bases in his first 19 Arizona Fall League games, solidifying his case to make the Twins out of spring training.

• The Twins declined to exercise their option on veteran infielder Nick Punto, potentially opening his utility role to 2004 first-rounder Trevor Plouffe or veteran Matt Tolbert.