What's black and blue all over and gets an average of a wrist surgery every other year?
You know the answer...
(Hint: he was the lead off hitter for Team Italy in the past World Baseball Cup)
Lots of things have been said about Nick Punto and I am not going to get there tonight (other that snide remark above)
Nick Punto has been a decent utility infielder with the Twins.
His career line .248/.322/.324 (.647 OPS) was to be projected from his career minor league line (.265/.361/.338), so there is no surprise that he has been consistent with the bat.
He is an above average fielder, he is small (5'9, 170 lbs; generously listed) and can play multiple positions and can play them well, albeit a tad fancy (read: form vs. function)
He is a "gamer", "plays his heart out" and "knows how to use the bat". This describes a slew of smaller utility players the Twins had since pretty much their move to Minnesota. Case in point, here are Nick Punto's predecessors, their MLB career slash lines and their listed height and weight in playing days:
Denny Hocking: .251/.310/.344 .654 OPS (1997-2004) 5'10, 176 lbs
Jeff Reboulet: .240/.332/.318 .649 OPS (1992-1996) 6'0", 169 lbs
Al Newman: .226/.304/.266 .570 OPS (1987-1991) 5'9, 183 lbs
Ron Washington: .261/.292/.368 .659 OPS (1981-1986) 5'11, 163 lbs
Rob Wilfong .248/.303/.345 .648 OPS (1977-1981) 6'1", 185 lbs
Luis Gomez .210/.261/.239 .500 OPS (1974-1977) 5'9", 150 lbs
Nothing out of the ordinary
other than the facts that:
Ron Gardenhire handled Punto a starting job (and I hope he does not do it again) and lobbied to sign him to a contract bigger than that of Orlando Hudson's.
Newmie will probably get (s)elected into the Twins' Hall of Fame, Punto is really on his footsteps (minus a couple of rings). Give him the rings and he will be in. Don't like the way he is playing or the fact that he starts? Don't blame him, blame the Manager of the Millennium