B game tommorrow, 9am. Be there or be square!
It's still pretty early, but some guys are stepping up and others not doing so much to impress. The minor league camp opens thursday. Look for cuts to begin soon afterwards.
Some of these pitching battles are impressing me with names I hardly, if ever, heard of. That's a good thing, as we really need some help. This won't be a high scoring team.
Ran into a Mn. friend for the first time this year, and as we watched one player take bp, he stated if he was TR, that guy would be gone in a nano-second. Got me thinking I just might agree with that, as I don't see much there, either. And he played for us last year, which I think was over his head. And he's getting praise for possibly taking an outfield spot this year. Just the thought of him in left field for us drains me of any optimism that's been slowly building.
Jack are you going to be square or be there??
Thanks btw for the info on Anthony Slama...wonder how he'll do this year.
I guess that is a good sign maybe we'll have a surprise or two on the staff this year.
Hmmmm Jack who could you be referring to ;-)From what you have seen who have you been impressed with or who do you think is just doggin' it?
Just realized the person you were referring to may not be who I'm thinkin of - is it RT???
I have no issues with Plouffe being given a shot to make a starting job. He has power potential (8 HR in half a season's worth of PAs) and he can throw, which gives him a leg up on the person he's supposedly battling for an OF starting job.
Either way, he's making the team.
Terry Ryan said something interesting...he acknowledged it wasn't just about injuries...that the team had issues no matter what.
Bert was trying to put last year's woes almost exclusively on injuries...
In response Ryan said he never wants to lead the fans astray...some of the problems were injuries some weren't. He said he never wants to pretend that if everyone was healthy they would have reverted back to 94 wins...but it helps go towards that direction.
At least Terry Ryan acknowledged it was more than injuries, really you'd have to be crazy not to know that.
Bert is disappointing...lost some respect for him last year.....I don't think I need to say much more on that ;-)
There was no way we would have come close to 94 wins with all healty, it all started with the pitching last year.
You and your friend would know more than I about his at bats, I have to admit I looked away a lot when he came to the plate. From what I remember he just seemed so akward and so many times overmatched.
His defense made me cry......at least now I wont fear for my life when he's making a throw...at least I hope not.
The Twins will keep him even if another guy out plays him. He's out of options and even if he is just a meh player some team will grabbed him up if the Twins try to send him back to AAA.
"Sadly, I just dont' see Morneau ever getting fully over his health issues."
Sounds like he's doing his best to debunk the retirement rumors that are still being discussed on some of the other fan boards around MLB. The Twins are certainly taking it slow and easy with him this spring, to the point where he says it is affecting his timing at the plate. He could very well end up as our DH. That would give Mauer some serious time at 1B.
From ESPN 1500
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Believe it or not, one year ago at this time there was very little reason to believe Minnesota Twins infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka's season would take the nosedive it eventually did.
Spring performances rarely tell full stories, but Nishioka looked comfortable in the clubhouse, comfortable at the plate, and comfortable playing second base -- all in front of a Japanese media contingent that had no fewer than 12 to 15 reporters and cameramen following him daily.
Nishioka finished the spring with a .345/.367/.414 batting line in 58 at-bats, including two doubles, a triple, three stolen bases and solid, sure-handed defense for the most part.
And on March 28, the final day in Fort Myers, Nishioka's strong spring actually prompted manager Ron Gardenhire to say, "I'm not going to say it now, but at the end of the day he might have (a Gold Glove) over here if he plays like he's playing right now."
None of the reporters in Gardenhire's presence disagreed -- at least, not until opening day on April 1 when a groundball bounced off Nishioka's chest in Toronto.
In fairness, Nishioka did look like a completely different player last spring than in the regular season. Having Nick Swisher barrel into his leg in an early-April game at Yankee Stadium likely injected some trepidation that he still hasn't kicked.
Special instructor Paul Molitor was spotted going over basic double play footwork with Nishioka in the clubhouse as recently as last week -- footwork he is still attempting to master, even after playing several years of professional ball in Japan (where baserunners don't slide as aggressively into second base).
Twins decision-makers continue to hope for the best, and they have yet to publicly opine on various "what-if" scenarios. But in reality the Twins are in a tough spot this month with Nishioka, who still looks more like the anxious, over-matched player from last summer than the confident, competent guy from last spring.
Now Nishioka now miss a day or two this week due to a sprained left pinky. It might be fair to wonder whether he has enough job security to sit through such an ailment.
In the eighth inning on Friday for instance, Nishioka missed two plays at second base that weren't ruled errors. First, left-hander Tyler Robertson induced a groundball to the right side of the infield that Nishioka was unable to corral after ranging far to his left. Shortly after that, he made an errant throw while attempting to turn a 5-4-3 double play on a slow groundball hit to third.
"He just needs to eat the ball," Gardenhire said of the errant throw. "That's how he got his leg broke, trying to hang in there too long. He just needs to get out of the way. A slow-hit ball, he's not going to turn two. And the only way he's going to be able to deliver that ball is to clear that base -- either coming forward and all the way across. ... or going backwards. But you can't stay at the bag. You'll get killed. Those are the things he needs to make adjustments to, either going one way or the other."
Nishioka also appeared to be a tick slow Friday on a tag attempt at second base on a perfect throw by catcher Chris Herrmann, who was trying to nab a St. Louis base stealer.
"He took it in front of the bag and tried to sweep," Gardenhire said. "We've gone over and over about straddling the bag and letting the ball carry and putting the glove straight down. We go over that with all of (the middle infielders). ... You can't be quicker than the ball traveling."
At the plate, Nishioka has looked just OK early in spring. He currently has five hits in 18 at-bats (.278), including a triple and one RBI. In Saturday's 'B' game against the Pirates, Nishioka slapped a single through an open hole at shortstop on a hit-and-run -- a good sign.
Of course, two days prior he popped up on a 3-1 pitch in the ninth inning with the tying runs on base.
But even Nishioka's best moments this spring have been unspectacular. And while having an unspectacular first two weeks of spring training means very little to established players, it can mean everything to guys grinding for roster spots -- which is exactly what Nishioka is doing.
The Twins do have the ability to option Nishioka to Triple-A Rochester if they decide he isn't one of their 25 best players out of camp. But that would mean demoting a $15 million asset who is already almost halfway through his $9 million deal.
Right now, the jury is still out, mostly because the Twins have very little depth up the middle after Jamey Carroll, Alexi Casilla, Nishioka and Luke Hughes. Brian Dozier receives considerable praise by people behind the scenes, but there's a sense he needs some Triple-A seasoning. And if he were major league-ready, he'd likely have to play every day, rather than come off the bench as a utility player.
Nishioka himself said in February, "If I don't put up the numbers this year, it might be better to throw it all out."
With that, is it possible he's pressing?
"I don't know," Gardenhire said. "Your guess is as good as mine if he's pressing. We're just trying to get him out there and see if he can play. That's all I'm doing -- putting him out there and seeing if the young man can play, and see if he can rebound from last year."
So far that rebound is still hanging high in the air.
Maloney is looking good too with the SOs.
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Minnesota Twins decision-makers aren't ready to make any bullpen declarations this early in spring training, but right-hander Kyle Waldrop might have the most eyeballs on him.
Waldrop, 26, stands 6-5 and throws a "heavy" sinker, as players have described it. And through his first three outings this spring he has struck out three in three innings without walking anybody or allowing a run.
"He's getting serious consideration for a job here," general manager Terry Ryan said Tuesday.
"Every outing for him will be viewed extremely importantly, I should say. He's got the type of sinker that everybody views as a very valuable pitch. He certainly pounds groundballs, which we like, and throws a lot of strikes."
Waldrop was drafted as a starter by the Twins with the 25th overall pick in 2004, but shoulder surgery sidelined him for all of 2008 and forced a move to the bullpen.
In 166 2/3 innings at Triple-A over the past two seasons, Waldrop owns a 3.19 ERA with 104 strikeouts and only 31 unintentional walks. And perhaps most importantly, 63% of batted balls hit off Waldrop over that stretch were grounders -- a rate that would put him in the top 10 of major league relievers if he could sustain it.
The Twins' bullpen induced only 41% groundballs last year, ranking them 27th.
Gardenhire openly vouched for Waldrop as far back as last spring, and on Tuesday he added, "I like Kyle Waldrop again today."
"I just think he just gets outs. He works quick, he gets outs with a good angle."
Asked if Waldrop was ready to pitch in some important innings for the Twins right out of the gate, Gardenhire said, "You're going to get a lot of different opinions. If you're asking mine, I say yes. ...
"Just keep getting them out this spring and we'll hope he doesn't have to prove anything. Just keep running him out there and getting outs."
Waldrop did get a taste of the big leagues last year, throwing 11 innings after his call-up in early September. He struck out five, walked six and allowed seven earned runs (5.73 ERA), but 30 of the 41 batted balls hit off him were grounders (71%).
"It's just a matter of him pitching ahead and figuring out how he's going to get left-handers out," Ryan said. "It's no secret -- any of those guys in the bullpen, if they throw strikes, and Waldrop does that, they've got a good chance to pitch in the big leagues. ...
"He's a good athlete, he's got good angle to his pitches. He's got that fastball that is tough to handle for any left- or right-handed hitter, just because it moves so much. He's one of those guys that's interesting for us."
The Twins will likely keep seven relievers. Behind Matt Capps, Glen Perkins and Brian Duensing, the other four bullpen spots are completely up for grabs.
They optioned righthanders Deolis Guerra and Lester Oliveros, lefthanders Scott Diamond and Tyler Robertson, and outfielder Darin Mastroianni to Class AAA Rochester. Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia was optioned to Class A Fort Myers.
The Twins also reassigned lefthander Aaron Thompson, infielder Steve Pearce and catcher Danny Rams to the minor league camp. Pearce is out 7-10 days with a calf strain anyway.
The Twins now have 57 players in camp: 27 pitchers (10 non-roster), 8 catchers (5 non-roster), 13 infielders (6 non-roster) and 9 outfielders (3 non-roster).
Baker's Elbow: http://www.startribune.com/sports/twins/142714655.html
CLEARWATER, FLA. - Scott Baker's throwing elbow has become a concern for the Twins again.
Baker would have pitched Thursday, when the Pirates come to Fort Myers, Fla., but his inability to get loose in a B game against Pittsburgh last Saturday raised some red flags.
Baker's fastball, which normally averages 91 miles per hour, was clocked between 83-86 mph in that outing, and he gave up six runs on six hits in 11/3 innings.
Baker, 30, made two trips to the disabled list last year because of a strained right flexor muscle and was limited to two starts after July 28.
Pitching coach Rick Anderson said he wants Baker to get through a bullpen session with no trouble before scheduling his next start. Baker told the staff his arm felt good during workouts Wednesday, but this is an issue the Twins will monitor daily.