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The Elusive Twins' 5th Starter Battle: It does not exist and it is not a bad thing...

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Originally published at The Tenth Inning Stretch
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One of the most contested spots for the Twins, on paper, this Spring Training was going to be that of the 5th starter. The newly signed (or re-signed) Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes and Mike Pelfrey, in addition to holdover veteran Kevin Correia, had four spots, while the three out of option guys (Samuel Deduno, Scott Diamond and Vance Worley, in alphabetical order) were to battle for that fifth spot, maybe with the addition of first round draft pick Kyle Gibson and newly acquired once top prospect lefty Kris Johnson. Even opinions that maybe two of the later group might win spots and force a trade of Kevin Correia were mentioned.

That was on paper and theoretically. Here is what is happening in reality:

Ron Gardenhire had this to say about Samuel Deduno: "He's healthy. Coming out of the 'pen, whatever, I like the guy. I would love to have this guy on my staff". In other words, one of the no-options-left pitchers is all but destined for a bullpen position. In addition, here is the list of the pitchers who have started the Twins' games this spring (including the "B" and intrasquad games) :

2/27 (intrasquad) : Hughes
2/27 (intrasquad) : Correia
2/28 (Red Sox) : Pelfrey
3/1 (Red Sox) : Diamond
3/2 (Rays) : Nolasco
3/3 (Blue Jays) : Correia
3/3 (Pirates) : Worley
3/4 (Marlins) : Hughes
3/5 (Orioles) : Pelfrey
3/7 (Pirates - B game) : Correia
3/7 (Pirates) : Worley
3/8 (Blue Jays) : Hughes
3/9 (Phillies) : Pelfrey
3/11 (Rays) : Nolasco (today)

So other than the 3/1 game, Scott Diamond has been pitching in relief, like Samuel Deduno, Kyle Gibson, Kris Johnson et al., which means that if he makes the club, it will likely be as a reliever and the Twins all but handed the 5th starter job to Vance Worley. And this is not a bad thing necessarily because he is the youngest of all 3 pitchers with no options, has the highest upside and has had the most success in the majors.

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  1. Jham's Avatar
    Updated 03-13-2014 at 02:47 PM by Jham
  2. Jham's Avatar
    I am getting really sick of people handing the 5th spot in the rotation to Worley over Deduno. I think it sends an awful message to the rest of the team. 1) apparently you can lose your position to injury; 2) the best player doesn't always play, so why work hard, rehab hard, perform well? We're just going to play who we want to play. Deduno has been nothing but a pro's pro, and has really been great just going about his business and not giving in to distractions. After his great year last year, he watched Nolasco, Pelfrey, and Hughes get paid. Meanwhile, he gets placed BEHIND Diamond and Worley in the battle for 5th starter. Deduno can pitch for me any day of the week.
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