There's really no way to put a positive spin on Vance Worley's start Tuesday night. With his chance of making the team very much on the line after back-to-back clunkers, the righty came out and delivered the worst outing of this spring -- for him or any other Twins starter.
The final line: 2.2 IP, 7 ER, 11 H, 2 BB, 1 K. Six doubles allowed. ZERO swinging strikes on 61 pitches.
Reflecting on the game, a dejected Worley couldn't find words to explain the disastrous performance.
"I threw some good pitches to [Evan Longoria], and he's definitely one of the better hitters in that lineup," Worley said, referring to his lone strikeout victim in the second inning. "And, um…"
He paused for a moment.
"Things happen. I really don't even know how to elaborate on that."
Assistant general manager Rob Antony said before the game that the Twins would likely wait a little while yet to make decisions on any of the contenders for their fifth rotation spot, unless it became "obvious" that one was out of the running.
It appears that we have reached that point with Worley, who has allowed 12 earned runs on 21 hits in 7 2/3 innings over his last three spring outings, with only 12 days remaining until the season opener.
Worley insists that he's feeling good in his bullpen sessions, and that his pitches were moving the way he wanted them to in the game but he just couldn't seem to locate. It's a refrain we've heard before, and one that usually precedes a demotion. There are few things more concerning to a manager than a guy essentially throwing his hands up in the air.
At this point the only real question surrounding Worley is whether he'll be working on figuring things out in Rochester or in another organization. The 26-year-old is out of options, and despite his tumultuous run since coming over from Philadelphia, the Twins would rather not lose him. Pitching depth is pitching depth, and the righty maintains some upside even if it's clear he doesn't belong in the majors right now.
His brutal results this spring, in combination with his struggles last year, may be enough to dissuade other teams from claiming him. That would allow Worley to stay with the Twins and head to Triple-A, where he would likely join the pitcher who came over with him from the Phillies, Trevor May.
There's your positive spin, I guess.