Spring Training Game #4
1.) The battle in center got more interesting today, with Denard Span getting to play a full game in center and with Jason Pridie replacing Michael Cuddyer in right. Span went 1-for-5, and his hit wasn't exactly a hot line drive. Pridie went 2-for-2, driving in 2 runs and scoring one. If Pridie or Span really gets going offensively, they might give Carlos Gomez a run for his money.
2.) Nick Punto got a hit! Honestly, I think he's a better hitter than his .210 average from 2007 indicates (although not as good as his 2006 might suggest). Defensively, he made a mistake in trying to take a runner between first and second rather than just tossing the ball to Adam Everett at short to go for a 4-6-3 double play, and ended up getting an out only at first. However, from what I saw of the game, he handled everything else effectively and again made a couple of solid plays. Honestly, I don't think this battle is going to come down to what Punto does this spring -- he's a known quantity, while Brendan Harris is not (to the Twins, at least). As a result, the battle will come down to whether Harris can demonstrate solid defense while also showing himself to be a better choice offensively than Punto.
3.) Livan Hernandez was pretty solid in his 2 innings of work, although he did give up a line drive homerun to Mike Lowell. Overall though, this was a nice first performance for Hernandez in a Twins uniform -- and hopefully a sign of what's to come. Hernandez will give up plenty of homers, but if he can keep guys off base that's not going to hurt him too badly. Like I said, a good first performance.
4.) Overall a solid performance from the relievers, with Dennys Reyes, Matt Guerrier, and Pat Neshek amongst the regulars getting in the game. Julio DePaula got a chance to pitch 2 innings, and didn't allow a hit -- although he did walk two batters. Bobby Korecky and Ricky Barrett also got some solid work in. These performances aren't going to win any of them jobs, but they are going to prevent them from falling out of contention.