The Detroit Tigers soured on him.
The Chicago Cubs didn't want him.
The Minnesota Twins barely gave him a chance.
If Spring Training is any indication, Craig Monroe, hoping to latch on with the Pittsburgh Pirates, is well on his way toward showing everyone that he still has Major League tools.
Monroe, who was acquired Nov. 13, 1997 by the Twins from the Cubs, already has pounded six home runs this spring, including three Mar. 12 against, you guessed it, the Twins.
Poetic justice usually takes time, sometimes years.
Revenge, it's been said, is best served cold.
This was serious, immediate, in-your-face payback.
It's the kind of statement that rings loud and clear.
Monroe, in essence, was saying, "Man, this is what you get for giving up on me."
Granted, a few Spring Training games don't make a season, especially when such lofty statistics are compiled against minor league pitchers, retreads, or established hurlers just working on their mechanics.
But, it makes one wonder.
Did the Twins give up too soon on Monroe?
Monroe came to the Twins with some serious credentials. As a Detroit Tiger, he served up 20 or more homers three times. In 2006, Monroe hit for a .255 average with 28 home runs and 92 runs batted in.
Monroe got off to a slow start in 2007 and he was peddled to the Chicago Cubs, where he languished on the bench.
Then it was off to the Twins.
More bench time.
Sharing the designated hitting role with Jason Kubel in 2008, Monroe amassed only 163 at-bats. His power and production numbers were still there (eight home runs and 29 runs batted in), but his batting average dipped to a microscopic .202. On Aug. 8, 2008, the Twins released him.
Now, it looks like he's back with a vengeance.
During an interview following his breakout game against the Twins, Monroe was asked whether he feels any animosity toward his former employer.
He gracefully dodged the question.
Monroe said he's concentrating on the here and now, working on his batting approach and doing everything he can to ensure that he makes the Pirates roster.
Monroe acknowledged that it's too early to tell whether his recent hot spell signals a career resurgence.
It is too early.
It makes one wonder, though.
If the Twins had been more patient, given him a few more at-bats, they may have had a power hitter to complement Justin Morneau.
As it stands now, the Twins may have a difficult time of even matching last season's total of 111 home runs, the American League-low.
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