Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Monday, February 19, 2007

Spring Training: Day 1

I don't want to just re-hash what's said in the Star Tribune or any other source, so there's a good chance that I won't be posting every day running up to the first spring game of the year. However, when I feel like I can add something to the commentary being delivered by my source news outlets, I will do so. Today is one of those days.

1.) The Sidney Ponson weight watch is, for me, over. It was an interesting story leading up to camp, but as soon as La Velle E. Neal said that Ponson didn't look particularly heavy (Ponson is suggesting he's around 250), I stopped worrying. This would have been a big story if Ponson had clearly come into camp out of shape. Since that's not the case, fans can start worrying about how he'll pitch.

2.) Josh Rabe and J.D. Durbin are the only two players for whom injury concerns are being mentioned. While I like Josh Rabe, there isn't any room for him on the Major League roster anyway, so even if his injury slows him down in camp it's not going to be a really big deal. Durbin, on the other hand, needs to pitch well this spring to have a chance of earning the fifth starter spot (or, less likely, the 7th bullpen spot). The nerve injury which ended his season last year is still a concern this year, and that could mean trouble for Durbin fans - the fewer chances he has to show what he can do, the less likely he is to secure a roster spot, and the more likely that he's placed on waivers at the end of the spring. For the record, while I'm not projecting him to earn a spot, I AM pulling for him. I'd love for the Twins to give him a month to prove himself as the fifth starter. With plenty of early off days, the Twins would probably only need him to make 3 starts during that time, so he would probably get a chance to pitch a little out of the bullpen as well. I think it makes sense, and I hope he pitches well enough in spring training to earn that shot.

3.) It sounds like talks are with Johan Santana are underway (it's not said explicitly anywhere I can find that this is the case, but it seems to be implied), while talks with Justin Morneau and Joe Nathan are likely to start soon. According to Neal, the Twins don't have much interest in pursuing a multi-year deal with Michael Cuddyer at this point. Let's hope at least one more player gets sown up this spring (and please let it be Johan . . . )

4.) Torii Hunter and Luis Castillo are the only two starters not to report. They have until the 23rd to get to camp, so the fact that every other starter is already there is a testament to the energy and excitement surrounding this team.

5.) Another reason to hate President's Day (the first being that it stops the mail): Ramon Ortiz's visa situation is languishing for at least another day because the consulate was closed. What a joke.

6.) It's much too early for the Twins to be worrying about "setting" their rotation for the start of the season. If they were going to worry about such things, however, then Johan Santana would make his first appearance (probably throwing about 2 innings) in the third game of the spring, against Cincinnati on March 2 in the home opener for the Spring. Seems like a good bet. That means the opener on February 28 would rightfully be started by the 3rd starter - so don't be particularly surprised to see Carlos Silva throw for a couple of innings during that ball game. And, with so many guys vying for the 5th starter spot, I would expect 1 or 2 of them to get involved in that game as well.

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