February 28, 2008

Spring Training: Game One

Spring Training is now officially underway after the Twins kicked off their spring schedule with a game in Sarasota against the Cincinnati Reds. They lost by a final of 6-1, but there were some things to take away from the game.

You can’t judge a lot about stats or performances for the first week or two for a few different reasons. First, the first week or more for pitchers is simply them getting back into game form and getting an inning or two under their belts in each outing. For the hitters, it takes longer, and they normally don’t get their timing back until they see a good amount of action.

I do have some notes from the game, but take them with a grain of salt with it being the first game and all.

* Scott Baker kicked off spring with a nice outing. He pitched two innings in his first stint, and allowed just three hits and no runs. They said some of his pitches were up in the zone, which isn’t all that surprising for his first time out.

* After Baker, Matt Guerrier and Pat Neshek each pitched scoreless innings. Glen Perkins then came into the game to relieve them, and he didn’t get off the start he would have liked. With a bullpen spot open, and Perkins being a leading candidate, he allowed four hits and a three-run homerun in just one inning. Reports are that the homerun was wind aided.

* Casey Daigle and Julio DePaula each pitched scoreless innings after Perkins which gives them good starts in their pursuit of the final bullpen spot. The Twins then put in Ricky Barrett (who is in camp simply to get some work) and he gave up three runs.

* Offensively it wasn’t a very good day for the Twins. They collected just five hits and none of those hits came from any of the young guys outside of the starters.

* Michael Cuddyer, Joe Mauer, Craig Monroe, Jason Kubel and Mike Lamb each collected one hit on the day and accounted for all of the team's hits. It was a nice start for the guys almost certain to make the roster.

* Carlos Gomez started off the centerfield competition with an 0-2 day. He did however make a diving catch which could be a factor in him eventually getting the spot (speed and defense). Jason Pridie followed him up with an 0-2 day as well replacing him in the sixth.

* Alexi Casilla, Garrett Jones, Matt Macri, Matt Tolbert and Tommy Watkins all checked into the came for the team’s infield. With the final bench spot most likely being an infielder, these are guys to watch (along with Buscher). Macri made an error but the rest played well defensively.

Again, take these notes lightly as it was the first game and the first week or so will be games to get the team back into game shape.