Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Spring Training Report: Game Nineteen

Alright, Twins fans. We're starting to get spoiled with all these wins. A week ago people were still complaining about the spring record and wondering what it meant. I say it means about as much as the current win streak means -- absolutely nothing. A week is simply too small a sample size to draw any conclusions from, and you should know by now what I think of drawing conclusions from spring generally. Anyway, the wins are still nice. Here are today's notes:

1.) Boof had to work out of some jams today, as he gave up 7 hits in 4 innings of work. Still, he struck out 5, and worked out of every jam that he worked into, so no harm, no foul. Ron Gardenhire has said that Bonser is, in fact, a lock for the rotation, and there's no reason to think that Terry Ryan thinks differently. A couple of days ago I read a story suggesting that Bonser was on track to be the fifth starter (I think it was on the Twins website, but I'm too lazy to look up the link right now). Such a thought is absurd - Bonser should be 2 or 3, hands down. There's still time for the Twins to adjust his starting day to get him in line for another position, and I fully expect them to do so. Besides, I think whoever wrote the article miscounted anyway - if you figure four days rest from here on out for Bonser, he'd logically be in line to pitch on April 6 in Chicago - the Twins fourth game of the year. While I think he should get a start earlier against the Orioles, I'm fine with saving him up for that White Sox game.

2.) Scott Baker decided to keep things interesting in the battle for the fifth starter by going 2 scoreless innings and giving up 2 hits and a walk while striking out one. Baker is far behind Garza, Perkins, and Ponson in this fight, but it's still nice to see him continue his recent streak of solid performances. Jeremy Cummings, who is about as likely as Kevin Slowey to win the fifth starter job (in other words . . . NOT), finally stumbled a little bit, giving up a run on 1 hit and a hit batter. Still, one run isn't going to hurt that badly, and Cummings has still had a great spring.

3.) Kelly Thesier at the Twins website has suggested two things about the Twins roster situation that I've suspected all spring, but that I hadn't seen anybody actually say in print just yet: (1) Ron Gardenhire would prefer 11 pitchers rather than 12, and (2) J.D. Durbin is at the top of the list of options should the Twins carry 12 pitchers because he's out of options and the Twins don't want to lose him. Considering that Matt LeCroy is the last standing likely possibility to be a 14th position player, and considering that the Twins really don't want to lose Durbin, it's looking extremely likely that I'll get my wish of having Durbin make the roster, at least to start the season.

4.) The regulars are all starting or continuing to hit this spring. I'd say they're getting close to ready, with just over 2 weeks to go. Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter both hit big blasts today, and Michael Cuddyer came awfully close (darned wind). There's no reason to think that the Twins offense is going to be a problem; I'm very excited to see them when the season starts.

5.) I expect the next round of cuts to come on Monday (the Twins only off-day of the Spring) or Tuesday morning. Unlike the previous cuts, which mostly involved players who had no chance of making the roster, I expect the next round of cuts to include players like Randy Choate and Carmen Cali, who came into the spring with at least a chance to win a job.

6.) It's not baseball related, but if you're into the NCAA tourney, hasn't it been nice to see some great games today after what seemed an awfully boring first round? The Ohio State - Xavier game was absolutely fantastic (although I was pulling for the upset), and Texas A&M - Louisville was a lot of fun as well. Now, as long as my Pitt Panthers avoid pulling a Duke against VCU, I should be able to look forward to a Sweet Sixteen grudge match against UCLA and former Pitt head coach Ben Howland.

Today's Big Winner: Justin Morneau (3-3, 2 runs, 2 RBI, HR)
Runner-Up: Boof Bonser (cemented his spot in the rotation, if it wasn't already)

Today's Big Loser: Carmen Cali (1 inning, 3 hits, 2 ER in possibly his last appearance)
Runner-Up: Mike Redmond (0-3, hitting .190 this spring)

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