Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Spring Training Report: Game Twenty-One

I hope you all had a chance to watch the game tonight. It wasn't great early, but there was so much good information and so many interesting things going on that it was a great introduction to where the Twins are at right now, and perfectly set up the last week and a half of Spring. Here are tonight's notes:

1.) I'm going to crow a little bit about the Twins stadium situation, which I've been saying for the last month or more wasn't going to be a problem. There was simply too much at stake for the impasse not to be resolved, and Jerry Bell suggested tonight that it has been taken care of and the Twins are moving forward. Honestly, I considered this a non-story from the moment I read it (which explains why I've barely mentioned it on the blog) - bumps in the road happen all the time with major projects, and they rarely cause the project to collapse. This was that kind of situation, and thankfully we shouldn't have to hear much more about it.

2.) Glen Perkins presumably had one last shot tonight to demonstrate to the Twins that he didn't just deserve a spot in the rotation, but simply could not be left off the roster. To do that, he would have needed to blow away the Red Sox, and THEN he would have had to hope that Sidney Ponson struggled tomorrow. That's now a moot point, however, as Perkins just never got it together and gave up 4 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks (with no strikeouts) in 2 innings. Perkins is likely still the first alternate in case somebody gets hurt or struggles mightily over the last week and a half of camp, but his hopes of winning a job outright likely just disappeared.

3.) J.D. Durbin looked fantastic tonight. His fastball was popping tonight, he got a couple of people to screw themselves into the ground trying to go after fastballs up and in, and I liked his curve. For me, Durbin has to be kept around, and I'm glad to hear that the Twins seem to be thinking along the same lines. I like Mike Venafro a lot, but keeping him on the roster and giving up on Durbin would be a shame.

4.) Luis Castillo went 2-for-3 and is now hitting .500 for the Spring. Seriously, .500. Good lord!

5.) Great commentary by Dick & Bert tonight discussing how Rondell White got some help from Harmon Killebrew this spring, and is working on keeping both hands on the bat when he swings. Right after they mentioned this, White put a great swing on a ball and doubled down the line, setting up the Twins comeback attempt. Hopefully, that's the swing we'll see a lot of this spring.

6.) Matt LeCroy: 0-for-2, 2 strikeouts. Enough said.

7.) Brad King got in the game today, and officially went 0-for-1. But this being Brad King, it was unthinkable that he wouldn't get on base -- which he did by drawing a walk in his first plate appearance. On. Base. Machine.

8.) I can't believe this didn't make it on the list until eighth. Alejandro Machado is out indefinitely with a torn labrum. He's reportedly seeking a second opinion, but the news is likely not going to change. This means he should end up on the disabled list at the start of the season, but it also means the Twins are going to give a couple guys a chance at SS. Luis Rodriguez, who the Twins have said all spring is NOT a shortstop, nonetheless played there tonight and looked alright. They're also mentioning using Jeff Cirillo there. And, in perhaps the best news, there are signs that Ron Gardenhire's insistence that Nick Punto would be exclusively a third-baseman seems to have thawed, and Punto is now likely to get some at-bats at SS this spring as well. Bottom Line: Luis Rodriguez is now a virtual lock to make the team out of Spring Training.

Today's Big Winner: Luis Rodriguez (Got a hit, but more importantly won a roster spot)
Runner-Up: Luis Castillo (Hitting .500 this late in the spring . . . priceless)

Today's Big Loser: Glen Perkins (Here comes Rochester . . . )
Runner-Up: Matt LeCroy (0-2; 2 strikeouts)

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