Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Spring Training Report: Game Thirty-One

And we're done. The Twins finished up the Spring schedule this afternoon with a nice 6-4 victory of the Pittsburgh Pirates to finish up the Grapefruit League season with a 14-17-1 record. Here are the notes from today's final game:

1.) It would have been nice if Sidney Ponson had pitched like Carlos Silva and Ramon Ortiz had the last couple of games, but it wasn't to be. He wasn't horrible, he just wasn't very good -- his line: 5 innings, 4 runs (3 earned), 10 hits, a walk, and 3 K's. Honestly, he looked pretty good through his first couple of batters, but he had a lot of hits fall in and got knocked around a little bit. Honestly, this is what it's going to be like with Sidney -- he wants teams to put the ball in play, and sometimes they'll hit it into the teeth of the defense, while other times they'll find holes and get hits. At least he kept the ball in the ballpark, and it looked like he threw some pretty solid sinkers. The big question now is whether he'll stay in line as the fourth starter, or whether Carlos Silva's solid performance on Thursday, coupled with Ponson's mild struggles today, will result in Ponson being moved into the fifth starter spot. I'm guessing that Silva will win the 4th starter spot.

2.) Somewhat surprisingly to me, Juan Rincon was the only member of the Major League bullpen to get into today's game. He pitched a perfect inning, striking out 2.

3.) Most of the starters only stayed in for about 4 innings before turning the game over to a host of minor leaguers. Rondell White and Jason Bartlett both went 2-for-2 today, and Bartlett also picked up a run scored and an RBI. Nick Punto and Joe Mauer both were in today's game, indicating that both will start the season with the team. There were some concerns, especially with Punto, that it might be necessary for them to start the season on the DL, but thankfully both healed quickly enough to get into today's game. Joe Mauer, meanwhile, had the biggest hit of the day for the starters, knocking a 3-run double to left center in the third inning. That's the swing I remember from last year . . .

4.) Brock Peterson had the best day amongst the minor leaguers who got in today's game, going 2-for-2 with a homer. Luke Hughes, Erik Lis, Josh Rabe, Matt Tolbert, Dave Gassner, Tim Lahey, and Eduardo Morlan all got into the game as well.

5.) The last bit of intrigue this weekend is whether or not Mike Venafro will accept a minor league assignment to the Red Wings. Despite popular opinion to the contrary, I actually think he will. It all depends on who offers him a job, and I don't think there are going to be great offers out there. He has until tonight to make the decision, so by mid-day tomorrow at the latest we should know what he's decided.

6.) An interesting tidbit from the Pirates announcers today: according to them, the minor league season can't start until 4 days after the first Major League game of the year. I'd never heard this before, but I don't doubt that it's true. Check the schedules out for yourself. You never know what you're going to hear when you tune into a game.

Today's Big Winner: Brock Peterson (way to make an impression!)
Runner-Up: Joe Mauer (nice to see him back in the lineup)

Today's Big Loser: Michael Cuddyer (only 0-for-3 amongst the starters
Runner-Up: Sidney Ponson (wasn't horrid, but not a good way to end the spring)

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