Wednesday Notes From Ft. Myers
by, 03-19-2014 at 04:45 PM (352 Views)
* The Twins' lineup on Tuesday looked an awful lot like one we might see in the regular season, and that makes sense since we're less than two weeks from Opening Day and everyone was rested following a rainout on Monday.
I asked Ron Gardenhire after the game if we should make anything out of Alex Presley's presence in center field with this group of potential regulars.
"Gotta play everybody," he said, downplaying any significance. "Gotta see how they do against lefties, that's why he was out there tonight."
From my view, Aaron Hicks should still be viewed as the favorite to win the job, especially since Darin Mastroianni isn't a factor and Wilkin Ramirez is less-than-ideal as the sole CF backup. But keep in mind that Hicks missed time with an injury this spring and hasn't yet shown that he can dominate Triple-A pitching.
I know a lot of fans scoff at the notion of Presley in the lineup to start the season, but he's proven to be a decent hitter in the majors. Just because he's not the most exciting choice doesn't make him the wrong choice, at least not initially.
Remember: even if Hicks starts in Rochester, he's only a phone call away.
* For what it's worth, Rob Antony offered up a pretty frank assessment of the battle between Hicks and Presley for the center field job: "Hicks hasnít been anything special this spring. Neither has Presley. Thereís your center field battle."
* Rather than follow Gardenhire and Co. on the three-hour trip to Jupiter, I stayed back in Ft. Myers today to chat with some of the remaining players and watch Mike Pelfrey, Glen Perkins and Jared Burton throw on the minor-league side. They all looked fine.
* Also in the stands for the Single-A game that featured Burton and Perkins was a familiar smiling face. Miguel Sano, exactly one week removed from his Tommy John surgery, was shouting encouragement in Spanish and joking with friends. As you can see, he's sporting a massive cast on his right arm:
* You can see some more newly uploaded photos from around the complex over at the Twins Daily Facebook page. Make sure to give us a "Like" to follow all the action!
* In Jupiter, Kyle Gibson started against the Cardinals and was outstanding, allowing just one run on a solo homer over 4 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked none, inducing seven ground ball outs.
Samuel Deduno came on in the sixth and cruised through two innings before running into some trouble in the eighth, when he allowed a couple runs on two doubles and two walks. His ERA this spring still sits at 2.19.
Deduno still hasn't made a start or pitched more than three innings in an outing this spring, so it seems like he's destined for the bullpen.
Based on performance, and talent, Gibson should probably be the leading contender in the battle for the fifth rotation spot, but I still have a hard time seeing it. The Twins simply don't have much to lose by sending him to Rochester for a few weeks.
That said, Scott Diamond has to be feeling a little pressure as he prepares to take the mound against the Rays in Port Charlotte tomorrow night.