Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spring Training Report: Game Twenty-Two

The Twins must have decided that losing yesterday wasn't fun. They won today's game against the Reds 5-3 to keep their recent hot streak alive and well. Here are today's notes:

1.) Sidney Ponson's final line wasn't that good - 3 runs, 7 hits, a walk and a strikeout in 4 innings. Objectively, that doesn't look like a very good outing -- but the Twins website suggests that Ponson is "rounding into early-season form," and pitched better than the stats would indicate. His sinker also is seemingly working well. Matt Garza relieved him with a 3 inning, 1 hit performance that probably puts him right back in line with Glen Perkins as the first alternate, and if Ponson struggles again in his next start there is at least a possibility that one of the young guns could still make the rotation.

2.) Luis Castillo: 3-4, .529 batting average this spring. Matt LeCroy: 0-1 with a K, .212 batting average this spring. One is ready for the season to start, and another is . . . well . . . not.

3.) I'm expecting the Twins to make some tough decisions in the next couple of days and cut some more players. Alexi Casilla should be sent down if the Twins honestly have no intention of keeping him at the Major League level. Give those at-bats to Luis Rodriguez, who seems poised to make the roster. Randy Choate should also be let go. And honestly, why is Scott Baker still in Major League camp? Who is that benefiting? Some of the most difficult decisions -- who to keep between J.D. Durbin, Mike Venafro, Josh Rabe, Matt LeCroy, et al -- likely won't be made until the final weekend; that doesn't mean that other players who have no shot should be kept around for little reason.

4.) In case you were wondering, there are no significant difficulties with the 40-man roster heading into the start of the season. The roster currently stands at 40 players, with the Twins needing to add Sidney Ponson, Mike Venafro, Matt LeCroy, or Josh Rabe if any of them make the team. The Twins will have one easy fix, however: Francisco Liriano will soon be placed on the 60-Day Disabled List, which means that he won't count against the limit of 40 players. Sidney Ponson is almost certain to be placed on the roster to fill the opening. If the Twins wanted to carry Venafro, LeCroy, or Rabe in addition to Ponson, however, they would have to clear space. Since J.D. Durbin would be left off the roster if any of those three were added, there would be another opening for one of these players to fill. Another opening might show up if the Twins decide not to rehab Alejandro Machado and return him to Washington, but it's hard to see any scenario in which the Twins would need to add 3 players to the roster before the start of the season.

Today's Big Winner: Michael Cuddyer (3-for-3; 2 R, 3 RBI, HR - .378 this spring)
Runner-Up: Matt Garza (Could still win a spot in the rotation)

Today's Big Loser: Sidney Ponson (Not a good outing, and not on solid ground)
Runner-Up: Matt LeCroy (three straight strikeouts over 2 games - the bat looks really slow)

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