1.) Phillies pitchers this afternoon struggled mightily, as a whole host of Twins players picked up multi-hit games today. I'll start by discussing the duel that developed throughout the day between Carlos Gomez and Denard Span. Gomez ended up going 3-for-4 with a homer and a couple of steals (one on a pickoff play -- the steal is great and all, Gomez has to reign himself in a bit and not get hung out like that). Span countered by going 2-for-5 with a double and at least one great catch in center. Honestly, if Gomez keep playing like this, he's unbeatable in the race in CF -- but I'm pleasantly surprised at Span and Jason Pridie (who picked up a hit in his only at bat) hanging in there. Incidentally, Gomez was following up a 2-for-5 day of his own, so he's 5 for his last 9. Span, on the other hand, went 0-for-4 in his last game.
2.) Nick Punto is 3-for-8 in his last two games. That's not going to set the world on fire, but it looks effective put up against Brendan Harris' 0-for-4 in that span. Frankly, all I wanted from either of these guys was to start showing some offense -- Harris did that a few days ago, and Punto is starting to do a little of it now. With Punto playing at least moderately well over the past couple of days, I have to think he's doing enough to stay in the drivers seat to win the 2B job.
3.) We haven't seen Brian Buscher in three days -- does that mean anything? I think he's in pretty good shape to try to claim a roster spot, especially after the first two round of cuts when Jose Morales and Alexi Casilla were sent down. However, if the Twins were interested in putting him on the roster, wouldn't they be giving him more AB's against big leaguers? Not that I have an answer for who they'd go with instead -- Randy Ruiz maybe, but he hasn't had any at-bats in awhile either. Garrett Jones, who's out of options and could theoretically be kept around as a backup 1B/OF/DH/bat off the bench, has received 5 AB's over the last few days and hasn't picked up a hit. As of late, no one seems to want to claim the last position player roster spot.
4.) The battle to win spots in the rotation sure is getting interesting, isn't it? Kevin Slowey started today and went 4 very solid innings, allowing just a run (and that on a homer by Ryan Howard -- we really can't fault him for that, can we?) and 2 hits while striking out 5 batters. Glen Perkins got himself into a bit more trouble in his 2 innings of work, but ended up giving up just 1 run on 3 hits in that stretch while striking out a batter. Add to those performances two excellent outings yesterday from Boof Bonser (4 innings, 0 runs, 3 hits, 3 K's) and Philip Humber (3 hitless innings -- and still a perfect ERA this spring), as well as scoreless performances on Thursday from Brian Bass and Randy Keisler, and this thing just keeps getting more and more interesting. The only guy who really struggled over the past few days on the mound was Nick Blackburn, who gave up 3 runs on 2 hits and 2 walks in 3 innings of work on Thursday -- but if he can recover by his next outing, that's not going to take him out of the running for a starting spot. I'm going to go into some detail on the issue of who should get spots when I post my next roster projections tomorrow -- but there's no question that it's a lot of fun to watch right now!
5.) Glen Perkins could still end up in the bullpen as the team's 12th pitcher, but I'm still thinking that Carmen Cali is going to get that spot. He's out of options, he's had a good spring, and the Twins saw what he could do last year, and so are presumably comfortable with him. Unless he really struggles over the next couple of weeks, I think he's the guy. On the downside, his 0.00 ERA has been earned in just 3.2 innings of work this spring, and he has more walks (3) than K's (2), which is never good. Still, I'll be a bit surprised if they go in a different direction with this spot.
6.) This is a huge week for the Twins and the players fighting for spots. The last week of the spring is usually used to hammer the team that's going North into shape, getting guys as many AB's and innings as possible (without wearing them out, of course). This week, in other words, is not the week to have a bad performance in camp. I'm actually expecting a couple of cuts tomorrow or early next week, with a bunch of cuts coming up a week from tomorrow. I'm guessing we'll know who wins most of these spots by Wednesday the 26th, at the latest -- but I certainly could be wrong. Personally, I hope they don't drag it out.