Oh No! The Mayor's Cup is Lost!
On to some stuff that really matters:
1.) Francisco Liriano obviously wasn't sharp today, but I disagree completely with the idea that he has no chance to make the big league squad out of spring training. Yes, Liriano only went 2+ innings today -- but he threw 58 pitches, which is about what he would have been at with three solid innings of work. In other words, he got his work in today, and that's what's important at this time of year. Now, that said, he's going to have to perform well in the next couple of weeks to get an immediate ticket to the Majors instead of a rehab visit to Rochester -- but I think he's still on track to do that, especially if the Twins slot him in at the back end of the rotation to give him some extra time to get ready. Time will tell, but I don't think he's done yet.
2.) One guy who probably is out of contention after today's poor performance is Kevin Mulvey. Mulvey went 2 innings, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits with a K. Mulvey started off camp behind a whole slew of pitchers, and would have needed to be brilliant this spring to win a job. Today's performance was not brilliant, and with more seasoned options ahead of him, whatever chance Mulvey had more than likely came to an end today. UPDATE: I should mention that at least one reader felt that I'm being a bit harsh on Mulvey, since he would have gotten out of the inning if Gomez hadn't lost a ball in the sun. It's a fair enough point, but I stand by my argument -- Mulvey needed to be brilliant all spring to springboard past a load of guys in front of him (here's my count -- Hernandez, Baker, Bonser, Liriano if healthy, Slowey, Perkins, Blackburn, Humber, and probably Bass -- am I missing anyone?), and he wasn't brilliant. I therefore stand by my original comment, and I don't expect Mulvey to be in big league camp much longer. Feel free, as always, to disagree in the comments.
3.) Offense out of the 2B position! Really!?! Brendan Harris finally put together a 2 hit game, going 2-for-3 and driving in 3 runs. Nick Punto has been horrendous at the plate, but until this point Harris hadn't been much better. This helps his cause, but he'll need to keep it up over the remainder of the spring to beat out Punto's strong defense. This was, at least, a start.
4.) Brian Buscher went 0-for-3 again today, dropping his spring average to .190. I still believe what I said yesterday -- that Buscher has impressed the coaching staff this Spring and has a very good chance of making the roster, despite his struggles over the last couple of days. Nonetheless, Buscher's recent offensive struggles might open the door for another candidate -- somebody like, say . . .
5.) Randy Ruiz! Ruiz went 1-for-2 today with 2 runs score (I presume he reached on an error, but I could be wrong). If Ruiz keeps hitting, he's got a shot. He's more limited than Buscher defensively (which is a big reason why Buscher has a bit of an edge for that roster spot), but you never know what might happen. Now, one thing I wasn't aware of until digging a little deeper on Ruiz was his past history with the Scarlet "S" of baseball -- back in 2005, Ruiz apparently tested positive for steroids twice (yes, twice in the same season). At this point, one would hope that he's moved on beyond his steroid-using past, but it was disappointing to hear about the past use. Still, I'm not naive enough to think that no Twins players have ever used steroids (heck, Rincon has that positive test on his record, and other past Twins like Matt Lawton have been implicated as well) -- so is it worse to know about the use, or to just naively think no one is using? I guess I'm glad I know about Ruiz's past, but so long as he isn't using now, I'm also not going to let it stop me from rooting for him to have a solid spring.
6.) Carlos Gomez went 0-for-3 again today -- could Denard Span really be pulling into the lead for this battle? This really is going to fascinating to watch down the stretch!