Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Spring Training Report: Game Twenty

Another day, another win. Ho-hum. Here are today's notes:

1.) Johan Santana became the first Twins starter to go five innings today, and looked fantastic. Other than with his arm strength, I'd say he's close to midseason form already, and that should be a scary thought for AL hitters. He looks poised to have another amazing season, and I can't wait until April 2 to see him kick things off against the Orioles. Santana has just two starts to go this spring, and I'd guess he'll go 5 innings again later this week, maybe pushing up to 6 in his last start of the spring.

2.) Kevin Slowey got into the game today and finally showed he's human, by giving up 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk while striking out 2. To be fair to Slowey, most of the hits were bloopers that fell in, but he did give up a couple of legitimate shots. This was probably Slowey's last start of the Spring, and I would guess that he'll be sent to the minor league camp tomorrow or Tuesday.

3.) Mike Venafro and Randy Choate pitched an inning each today, and both were pretty solid. I've suggested before that Choate was probably going to be cut soon, and despite today's performance I still expect that to happen tomorrow or Tuesday. I think that Mike Venafro will stick around camp for awhile, but J.D. Durbin has emerged as the favorite to get the 25th roster spot because he's out of options.

4.) Luis Castillo has quietly put up a great spring when he's been healthy, as his 3-for-3 day put his batting average up to .481. Michael Cuddyer went 0-for-3 but is still hitting .350. Justin Morneau has hit homeruns in back-to-back games, and is now hitting .343 for the spring. Torii Hunter is hitting .333, Rondell White is hitting .300, Jason Bartlett is hitting .303 . . . honestly, the only regular starters who aren't doing a lot with the stick are Joe Mauer (.226) and Nick Punto (.216) - but I think they'll be fine once the season starts. Mauer had a particularly rough day today, leaving eight runners on base.

5.) Off day tomorrow - and if I remember right, these are usually legitimate off days, with the players told to stay away from camp and relax. I would expect Ron Gardenhire, Terry Ryan, and the coaches to huddle tomorrow and make some decisions on cuts, with announcements coming either tomorrow or Tuesday.

Today's Big Winner: Johan Santana (5 innings, 1 hit - he's ready for Opening Day)
Runner-Up: Justin Morneau (2 homers in 2 days)

Today's Big Loser: Kevin Slowey (First bad outing of the spring is probably his last)
Runner-Up: Joe Mauer (8 men left on base - yikes!)

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