Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Nightly Notes: Game #51

Another series, another win -- that marks four in a row, as the Twins are guaranteed to be no worse than .500 after tomorrow's series-ending game with the Sox. Here are tonight's notes:

1.) Boof Bonser looked like he was on his way to another low efficiency night after the first inning, but he had a quick second and generally things went smoothly for him after that as he made it through 6.2 innings, allowing just 7 hits and 3 walks while giving up 2 runs (1 earned) and striking out 6. The Twins actually let him stretch out a bit by throwing 109 pitches, but Jason Bartlett's error extended what should have been the end of the inning. As much as it has seemed at times like Bonser has struggled this year, he still has a very good 3.61 ERA and has started to become a consistent presence in the rotation.

2.) Nice performances out of the bullpen from Pat Neshek (all of one pitch long), Carmen Cali, and . . . Ramon Ortiz!?! Of course we all knew that he was going to the bullpen, but I didn't expect him down there so soon. Still, he had a nice inning, which is a positive development. The best thing about this situation is his tremendously positive attitude. He's the kind of guy you just want to see succeed -- and I hope that he can put something together out of the 'pen for the Twins. It wouldn't be a bad thing for the team, either, of course -- not only would they get a strong middle and long relief man, but they'd also maybe see Ortiz turn into trade bait for a desperate team come July.

3.) Castillo: 3-for-5. Cuddyer: 3-for-4. Morneau: a monstrous 3-for-4, including his 16th HR of the year. Today it was Torii's day to not contribute with the bat, but the Twins are finding plenty of guys to swing right now, which is very, very nice to see.

4.) Jason Kubel's homerun was great to see, because he hasn't been driving the ball particularly well this season. Even better, though: it was off of a lefty, and it honestly looked like he didn't hit it completely square and still took it deep. He almost added another one in the 8th. Ford over Kubel? I don't think so . . .

5.) I haven't heard anything about Mike Redmond's condition after getting plunked in the elbow tonight, but I would assume that he'll be fine. I'm sure Heintz will start tomorrow afternoon, but Redmond should be good to go on Friday. If not, things would get really interesting -- Jose Morales is playing well down in AAA, but he's not on the 40-man roster, and the Twins are running out of easy moves to make to add people to the roster, so someone would have to be taken off. More on that in note #6.

6.) I'm putting this in a separate note because I don't think it's going to have anything to do with the catching situation, so it didn't belong in the above. However, with Alejandro Machado already on the 60-day DL, and Jesse Crain about a day away from heading there to make room for Kevin Slowey, the Twins could find themselves in the position of needing to add someone else to the roster without having any paper transactions (15 to 60-day DL, for instance) left to make. Who gets the bump from the roster in that situation? One possibility that actually would just be a paper transaction would be to transfer Rondell White to the 60-day DL. Looking at my calendar, it's been about 60 days since the season started, so he'd be eligible to come off whenever he was ready. This would really just serve to delay a decision, though, because Rondell should be coming back at some time this season. Why delay the inevitable, then?

My first choice (and this is not going to happen, so don't think I'm actually suggesting that this is a possibility) would be for the Twins to part ways with Lew Ford. I'm not sure what he's adding to the team at this point. Since that's not a viable option, however, my next suggestion is more realistic. The decision would be a tough one, and undoubtedly the Twins would very likely lose the player that they were removing from the roster. One option, however, might be to remove Josh Rabe (again). He was removed after last season and exposed to the Rule 5 Draft, but was not claimed. That makes it at least possible that he'd make it through again. If the answer wasn't Rabe, things get even tougher: do you go with Dutch lefty Alexander Smit, who's pitching in High A and using up his first option year while struggling? How about Errol Simonitsch, another lefty who is pitching for New Britain in his second option year and also struggling a bit? (Actually, he hasn't pitched at all this year -- not sure what I was looking at when I made the comment). Both of those guys would probably be yanked on a waiver claim, especially considering that they don't have to stay at the Major League level if this happens. I don't know what the Twins will do if this comes up -- but I know what I'd do.

7.) Sometime in the next few days I'm going to look at the first All-Star vote results, and say whether or not I think the fans have it right so far. My guess is no, but I haven't looked that closely yet.



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