Spring Training Roundup
1.) Of course, the biggest news today was that the Twins plan on having Livan Hernandez start on opening night. Frankly, I'm underwhelmed. Give the spot to one of the young guns like Scott Baker. Honestly, I understand the motivation behind giving Livan the start -- I'm sure opening night is a big deal for these guys, and it might mess with a youngsters mojo. Honestly, though, Livan? Anyway, Hernandez was pretty mediocre today, going 4 innings and giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and a walk while picking up a K. But hey, he's a veteran so poor performances in the spring don't matter, right? RIGHT?!?
2.) Meanwhile, Glen Perkins was underwhelming again today, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits in 2 innings while striking out a batter. Considering that a number of the Twins young pitchers are starting to hit a solid groove, Perkins simply cannot afford to struggle like this. I don't think his chances of making the team have disappeared just yet, but he's quickly running out of time to turn things around.
3.) Remember when I thought Mariano Gomez would be amongst the first cuts of spring? Well, maybe he should have been -- he gave up 2 runs on 2 hits in 1 inning of work today, and has a 10.80 ERA. To my knowledge, he hasn't done anything to indicate that he would be a good addition to the big league club (other than throw the ball with his left arm). I'm thinking his time has run out, and wouldn't be surprised to see him cut as soon as tomorrow.
4.) Jason Pridie keeps getting an at-bat here and an at-bat there, and he's making the most of it. Today, he replaced Denard Span in center and went 1-for-1 to raise his spring average to .304. Say it with me -- "the sample size is small" -- but a decent batting average sure looks better than a bad one, fair or unfair. Span also picked up a hit, going 1-for-3 before leaving the game. Both are hitting much, much better than Carlos Gomez. This center field battle feels a bit like a see-saw, doesn't it? I'm still saying Gomez is the favorite, but we'll see how the rest of the week plays out.
5.) Doesn't Nick Punto realize that he could clinch the starting 2B job with just a little bit of offense? He went 0-for-2 again today, giving him a .077 batting average on the spring. Brendan Harris hasn't exactly been dashing either, but he's been at least a bit better than Punto with the stick. How disappointing, though, that neither of these guys have been getting it done. Meanwhile, fans are starting to call for Alexi Casilla -- and while I thought coming into the spring that there was essentially no chance of that happening, I have to admit that it's starting to look like an attractive possibility. If you're going to be bad at a position, why not be bad with youth?
6.) Craig Monroe went 2-for-3 and is hitting .375. Forget about it -- he's making the team. He's swinging the bat too well not to, and the Twins could use his veteran presence on the bench. Also, he at least seems to be somewhat versatile, and probably wouldn't completely embarrass the team if they had to use him in CF for a game or two. At this point, there's no reason not to give him a roster spot.
7.) Brian Buscher, who has been a bit of a cause celebre this spring, went 0-for-3 today and is now hitting .222 this spring. Time to write his obituary? Hardly. Remember, small sample size makes batting averages fairly meaningless, and the team has gone out of its way to praise Buscher's work ethic and performance. He may not make the team, but if he doesn't it won't be because of his batting average.