Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Spring Training Report: Game Seven

After listening to the game and perusing the box score, here are my thoughts on today's action (and a few other things):

1.) First, the good news. Ramon Ortiz was great today, and that makes one solid start and one great start for him this spring. The Twins are praising him, Rick Anderson is working with him regularly, and Ortiz seems generally happy to be a part of the Twins organization. I'm almost convinced that this signing might just work - but I reserve the right to change my mind once the season starts.

2.) The battle for the 7th bullpen slot may have thinned out a little bit today with Randy Choate's flame-out of an appearance. Choate gave up 4 ER on 3 hits and a walk in 1 inning of work today, which is obviously terrible. He wasn't helped any by having Mike Venafro also pitch, considering that Venafro got through an inning allowing no hits or walks. Carmen Cali, meanwhile, who was also (sort of) in this competition at the start of the spring, also pitched, allowing 4 hits and an earned run in 1 inning of work. This clearly puts Venafro in the driver's seat, although Choate has to remember that this is just one performance - if he's dazzling the rest of the spring he could still win the job (if there's a job to be had!). The other possible beneficiary of Choate's struggles is J.D. Durbin, who also could get some consideration for a spot in the bullpen. He is scheduled to make his spring debut tomorrow, and I'll be rooting for him all the way.

3.) There is moderately bad news on Matt Garza's neck, with the Twins being extremely cautious and scheduling him to see a specialist. It's disappointing, but hopefully there is nothing significantly wrong and Garza will just miss a little bit of time. It does give Sidney Ponson an even better shot of making the big league squad out of spring training, and if Ponson struggles it could open the door for someone like Glen Perkins or J.D. Durbin. Speaking of Perkins, he wasn't that solid today, as he gave up 5 hits and an Earned Run in 2 innings of work. If Ponson pitches well on Friday in his first grapefruit league action, he'll be in a commanding position to win the job with just an adequate spring, unless Garza comes back extremely quickly and blows everybody away.

4.) Steven Tolleson and Eli Tintor were both involved in today's game, helping the Twins through this particularly injury-plagued stretch. Trevor Plouffe (who played in yesterday's B game against Boston) also got in on the action, hitting a double, and Brandon Roberts also made an appearance. Once again, I expect to continue to see them with the team (or at least a few of them) until the Twins get through the split squad games on Thursday (which, coincidentally, is also the first day of Minor League camp).

5.) I should comment on the Lew Ford situation, because I haven't yet since it became fairly certain that he wouldn't need surgery. All I'm going to say is that I'm happy for him that he doesn't need to go under the knife, and I wish him the best this spring. If the Twins are going to have him on the roster, as seems fairly likely if he's healthy, then the best case scenario is of course that he plays well this year. I hope that's exactly what happens if he makes the roster.

6.) Same deal tomorrow - Wednesday's are particularly bad for me. I should get home by about 6:30-6:45, and I should have something up on the game before 9, with likely revisions later in the night.

Today's Big Winner: Ramon Ortiz (keep it up, my friend!)
Runner-Up: Mike Venafro (close to winning a job - or at least a possible job)

Today's Big Loser: Randy Choate (opposite situation of Mike Venafro)
Runner-Up: Nick Punto (0-3 today puts him at .071 for the Spring)

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