Report From The Fort: Ups And Downs
Image courtesy of Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY SportsExcept for a couple of batters, he made things looked effortless. Whether that’s a good sign or not for the regular season remains to be seen. Gibson cautioned that he never knows what the other team is working on, and it might be that they’re working on something that gives Gibson an advantage.
Towards that end, I’ve been very surprised by how patient teams have been against the Twins pitching this year. Today, the first time through the order, only two of the Red Sox batters swung at the first pitch, and five of them just watched strike one. It was similar the second time through the lineup; at least four guys watched themselves go down 0-1 in the count. It’s a lot easier to have an efficient outing when that’s the case.
But for what it’s worth, Gibson is clearly in a positive mindset. So is his manager. “Bottle it,” exclaimed Twins manager Paul Molitor when asked for his reaction.
Back To Your Regularly Schedule Pessimism
Less exciting was Ryan Pressly’s outing. I counted (roughy) 24 pitches and 10 strikes. He started by walking the first two batters. He bounced back a bit for a strikeout and then outlasted left-handed hitting Pablo Sandoval when Panda chased a 92 mph 3-2 fastball outside the zone. But that gift was erased when his next pitch to catcher Christian Vazquez ended up in the left field bleachers. So in one inning he walked two, gave up three runs and never really found the strike zone. I’m 99% sure he’s safe to make the bullpen, so I don’t think it matters, unless you’re hoping for a rebound this year from the bullpen. It was the exactly the opposite of Gibson’s outing, and exactly the opposite outing one wants to have just before the regular season. I expect we’ll see him again midweek.
Let’s Leave On Some High Notes
Molitor talked a little about how impressed he has been with Alex Wimmers, who had a clean inning in relief, this spring. He likes that he has four pitches and he likes that he has a presence about him when things go wrong. I also heard from a baseball guy that he views Wimmers' changeup as a “separator,” a pitch that raises him above the others who might be relievers. I mention this all since I wasn’t very excited with the demotion of JT Chargois and the possible (maybe probable) addition of Wimmers to the 25-man.
On that note, it looks like Michael Tonkin will have a chance to pitch in relief tomorrow night versus the Pirates. He needs a good outing.
Kennys Vargas made some progress today: he put on a shoe. He was also supposed to run, but he is fighting the flu, and it sounds like a couple of guys from the WBC are also. Next up for Kennys: locusts followed by pestilence, probably.
I’ve been wondering about the status of Robbie Grossman, who had a groin strain and has been out a few days. He took batting practice today and ran, although he didn’t run the bases. Molitor is hoping he can play again on Wednesday, so keep an eye on that lineup.
If Grossman regresses, it’s not at all clear what the Twins would do. He wouldn’t necessarily be replaced by an outfielder, as Danny Santana and (cringe) Eduardo Escobar could play there if necessary. But the Twins likely won’t be adding the slick-fielding infielder Ehire Adrianza; he has an oblique strain. If he isn’t added to the 25-man and isn’t placed on the DL, he would need to be exposed to waivers. He’s out of options.
And finally, there are a few candidates with a real chance to make the team who are not on the 40-man roster. ByungHo Park and Chris Gimenez would both need to be added. Molitor said he thinks they know what they would do. Presumably, one spot could be opened up rather easily, as Glen Perkins could be put on the DL.
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