Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Spring Training Report: Game Fifteen

Another day, another win, and a bunch more hits. Nice to the see the Twins winning with more regularity than early in the spring, although I still contend that victories in the spring are not particularly important. Here are today's notes . . .

1.) Another solid start for Johan, as he gave up 2 hits and 2 walks in 4 innings while striking out 4. Not such a good performance for Dennys Reyes, who gave up 2 ER's in 1 inning on 2 hits. He's in no danger of giving up his roster spot, however, so this was just an inning of work that didn't go as well as it could have. Finally, there was Scott Baker, who got just 1 inning of work in and gave up 2 hits. Using Baker for just 1 inning seems odd - a guy competing for a starting role would normally get more time on the mound. Of course, as the starters stretch themselves out, there are fewer innings available for a second starter to pitch on the same day.

2.) The top two contenders for the 25th and final roster spot, Mike Venafro and J.D. Durbin, both pitched an inning today. Venafro gave up a hit but was otherwise solid. Durbin walked a batter but was otherwise solid. In other words, we didn't find much out - however, it was more important for Durbin to do well; Venafro has already established that he'd be a nice addition to the bullpen, and the only questions left are (1) do the Twins want to carry a 12th pitcher, and (2) will J.D. Durbin pitch well enough to justify placing him on the roster in order to avoid losing him through a waiver claim. The more games like this that Durbin has, the more likely he makes the roster over Venafro.

3.) Matt LeCroy got another at bat today . . . and got another hit. He's now hitting .318 for the spring. While batting averages don't mean a lot in spring, it sure looks better to have a high one than a low one. With Ken Harvey battling a pesky injury, LeCroy is at the head of the line in terms of hitters who could claim the 25th roster spot. I still think both Durbin and Venafro are ahead of him, but if LeCroy starts swinging a hot stick, the Twins might be tempted to give him a shot (but would keeping LeCroy really be worth losing J.D. Durbin?)

4.) Alexi Casilla went 1-3 with 2 RBI's. Please, Alexi, stop making this difficult . . .

5.) Carlos Silva is scheduled to start tomorrow . . . against the Yankees . . . in Tampa. Sound familiar? Silva's first start of the spring was in Tampa, and he got rocked. Then he had a good start before being rocked again his third time out. I'm not very optimistic about Round 2 in the battle against the Yankees this spring, and with so many young arms pitching so well, it's at least worth wondering whether a third poor performance this spring could force Silva into a competition for his spot in the rotation.

Today's Big Winner: Justin Morneau (2-4 day should calm some unnecessarily worried fans)
Runner-Up: J.D. Durbin (Every good performance makes a roster spot more likely)

Today's Big Loser: Dennys Reyes (Not going to hurt him, but not a good outing)
Runner-Up: Jason Tyner (Another 0-1 in the box score)

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  • At Wed Mar 14, 06:02:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    is silva's contract the only thing that has him as a gardy "lock" for the rotation? i wish they would make him earn his spot.

  • At Wed Mar 14, 08:07:00 AM , Blogger JST said...

    I would say it's his contract and his experience at the Major League level. Terry Ryan is like most GM's in baseball . . . he doesn't want to have to rely on young players if he doesn't have to. This is why Ramon Ortiz and Sidney Ponson were brought in, and why Ponson is being given every chance to win the fifth starter spot.

    I don't think it's inevitable that Silva will win the job, however. If he does struggle today, the Twins will undoubtedly get a little nervous. I think he's likely to make the team out of spring training even if he struggles all spring, but such struggles would probably make the Twins quicker on the draw as far as replacing him later on.

    Hopefully, however, he'll pitch well the rest of the way and we'll laugh about all of this concern later . . .


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