Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring Training Report: Game Twenty-Seven

There was a little bit of good and a little bit of bad in today's 5-3 loss to the Orioles. Here are today's notes:

1.) The most encouraging thing by far to come out of today's game was the performance of Sidney Ponson. Considering the horrid performances by Carlos Silva and Ramon Ortiz over the last couple of days, the Twins needed Ponson to pitch well in order to alleviate some concerns over the rotation. He responded by going 6 innings and allowing just 5 hits (and no walks) while striking out 3. There were a few troublesome things -- he gave up a couple of booming doubles deep in the outfield -- but the fact is he was mostly effective and looks to be in surprisingly good shape for the start of the season, considering that before today he had pitched just 10 innings this spring in Grapefruit League games. If there was any question about whether Ponson would make the rotation coming into today (and really, I don't think there was), it was settled today. The only question left is when he'll get his first start, and in my book that should come on Wednesday against the Orioles.

2.) The bad news today came from the performance of J.D. Durbin, who pitched an inning of relief and got absolutely hammered, giving up 4 ER's on 5 hits and a walk. That's two poor performances in a row, and his Spring ERA is now at 12.38. I still think he's in the running for a roster spot because the Twins don't want to lose him, but it's clear that he wouldn't be adding much to the team. I hate to say this, but it's looking more and more like this will be a repeat of the Michael Restovich situation of a couple of year's ago, where the Twins were forced to give up a promising young player because he was out of options. Just to rub some salt in the wound, Mike Venafro came in and had another solid inning of work today. The contrast couldn't have been more striking.

3.) Josh Rabe didn't help his argument that he deserves to win the 25th spot on the Twins roster today -- he went 0-for-4 as the starting left fielder. Matt LeCroy didn't play in the game.

4.) Luis Rodriguez has quietly turned his spring around a little bit, and with today's single (in his only at-bat) he's now hitting .275. He may not be fast, he may not be a natural shortstop, and he may not be a very good bunter -- but he's going to win a roster spot typically calling for all three of those skills by default.

5.) David Winfree and Doug Deeds were with the Twins today rather than in minor league camp, and both contributed to the cause, with Deeds hitting an RBI single and Winfree getting an RBI on a sac fly.

Today's Big Winner: Sidney Ponson (surprisingly, looks ready for the season to start)
Runner-Up: Mike Venafro (may have won a job today)

Today's Big Loser: J.D. Durbin (may have lost a job today)
Runner-Up: Josh Rabe (Did himself no favors with an 0-4 day)

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