Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Friday, March 30, 2007

Spring Training Report: Game Thirty-One

Second to last game of the spring, and things were looking good until the bottom of the 8th. Pirates pick up the 5-3 win, and the same two teams will meet tomorrow in Ft. Myers to finish things up this spring. Here are today's notes:

1.) Ramon Ortiz had a short but effective final spring outing, going 4 innings and allowing just 1 hit while picking up a strikeout. He's on pace to start the third game of the season, against the Orioles, and by all accounts is ready to go for the season. Nice to see him recover from his last start, when he got knocked around a little.

2.) Matt Guerrier pitched two perfect innings and Juan Rincon contributed a perfect inning of his own, as the Major Leaguers in the bullpen continued solid performances. I'm guessing we'll see Dennys Reyes, Joe Nathan, and possibly Jesse Crain tomorrow for final tuneups.

3.) The only starters in the game today were Jason Bartlett at SS, and arguably Jason Kubel in LF (although he'll be a part-time starter at DH rather than in LF). As a result, it's probably not that surprising that the Twins only picked up 5 hits as a team -- although what may be surprising is that 3 of those 5 hits were contributed by minor leaguers.

4.) David Shinskie and Kyle Waldrop were the two minor league pitchers in today's game, and Shinskie didn't exactly have a great day -- he gave up 5 runs (3 earned) 5 hits in 1/3 of an innings. Ouch. Waldrop replaced Shinskie and pitched a perfect 2/3 of an inning.

5.) Matt Moses (possibly the starting third baseman for the Twins by the end of 2008) and David Winfree started today's game at 3B and 1B respectively. Winfree went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Moses went 1-for-4 with an RBI. Brandon Roberts, Felix Molina, Josh Rabe, Jose Morales, Trent Oeltjen, Doug Deeds, and Trevor Plouffe all got into the game as replacements.

There were also some good notes from yesterday's Live from Ft. Myers section in yesterday's Strib that I wanted to cover, and this seemed like a good place to do it, so here goes:

6.) Alejandro Machado won't be able to get the necessary service time with the Twins this season in order to shed his Rule 5 status. While a player can stay on the roster all season by being on the disabled list and so not have to be offered back to his original team, that player still needs to be on an active roster for 90 days. The Twins are hoping that Machado recovers from his surgery in enough time to rehab in August and possibly contribute once rosters expand in September. He'll also get a shot next spring to make the team. Incidentally, with Machado out until at least late August, he could be transferred to the 60-day DL at any time if the Twins need to open up a roster spot.

7.) Here's a quote from Francisco Liriano that has to make any Twins fan's heart jump up into your throat: "It feels weird, like it's my first time playing baseball." Oh my . . . let's hope that feeling starts to go away as Liriano rehabs his elbow throughout the summer, and that by the time Spring Training 2008 rolls around, he'll be feeling like he did in, oh, let's say early June of 2006.

Today's Big Winner: Ramon Ortiz (Looks ready to go for April 4)
Runner-Up: David Winfree (Hit .400 in Grapefruit League games this spring)

Today's Big Loser: David Shinskie (Not a good way to make a first impression)
Runner-Up: Jason Kubel (only 0-for-4 on the day for the Twins)

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