Twins Use Old Scouting Reports To Assess Hollimon





MINNEAPOLIS—Scouting reports never die. In most cases, records of long-ago evaluations on some obscure diamond have a shelf life longer than the careers of the ballplayers they size up.

That's a good thing for Michael Hollimon. A decade-old report helped earn him a contract.

"It's funny, when we found out he was trying to get back into the game, we dug up reports on him going back to high school," vice president for player personnel Mike Radcliff said. "We have loads of background on him. We even drafted him once."

That was in 2003, when Hollimon was a free-swinging, power-hitting shortstop at Texas. The Twins drafted him in the 49th round, in case he was ready to turn pro, but Hollimon decided to stay in school.

No longer a prospect and fighting to resurrect a career sidetracked by shoulder surgery, Hollimon finally has joined the Twins organization, likely as a middle infielder at Triple-A Rochester or Double-A New Britain.

Several years of scouting reports convinced the Twins that they should investigate the 28-year-old, and after he worked out in Texas for scout Marty Esposito and minor league hitting instructor Bill Springman, they offered a contract.

"The big thing was, can he make throws across the infield? They're confident he can," Radcliff said. "When he's healthy, he's a middle infielder who's steady defensively and has some pop in his bat. He's not a slap-hit guy, a nine-hole guy. He's got power."

Hollimon appeared in 11 games with the Tigers in 2008, and he batted .260/.361/.478 with 60 home runs in five minor league seasons. But a shoulder injury wrecked his 2009 season at Double-A Erie, where he hit just .212 and got released.

He spent 2010 playing third base in the independent American Association, "building his shoulder back up," Radcliff said. "He's determined to get back on the radar. We're not concerned about his age, because he looks like he can produce. We've thought so for a long time."

They've got the scouting reports to prove it.

TWIN KILLINGS

• Hollimon could join other Twins' minor league free agent acquisitions in Rochester's infield, a group including third baseman Chase Lambin, an International League all-star last July, and first basemen Jeff Bailey and Justin Huber.

• The Twins signed catchers Rene Rivera, a 2001 second-round pick by the Mariners, and Steve Holm to minor league deals to provide experience in Triple-A. They effectively assume the role of the traded Jose Morales.