February 28, 2008

First Game

The Twins face the Cincinnati Reds this afternoon in their first Grapefruit League action this season. The Twins will send out a young lineup, where Carlos Gomez gets the first shot of taking center field, unless of course you include their game against the Concordia on Tuesday.

Here's the lineup:

1. Carlos Gomez, CF.
2. Brendan Harris, 2B.
3. Joe Mauer, C.
4. Michael Cuddyer, RF.
5. Jason Kubel, LF.
6.Craig Monroe, DH.
7. Mike Lamb, 3B.
8. Garrett Jones, 1B.
9. Alexi Casilla, SS.

A little 'head scratcher' in the lineup probably comes at shortstop, where the 23-year-old Alexi Casilla has been dubbed the future second baseman of the organization. Yet, Ron Gardenhire said :
"I'm going to move him around and have him play some short and play some second as we go along here," Gardenhire said. "As we start breaking things down, we'll probably use him a lot more at second base on a rotation basis. But I've got to move everybody around right now; I just have too many infielders."
He also praised Casilla for being better in drills this season, which should give some optimism as he was in Gardy's doghouse last season for not delivering on routine plays.

And the pitchers are scheduled to be:

Scott Baker (Starter)
Glen Perkins
Matt Guerrier
Pat Neshek
Casey Daigle
Rickey Barrett
and Julio DePaula

I'm excited to see how Baker, and the rest of the starters, do in spring training. Our rotation competition is one of the most intriguing story's in baseball this spring, at least to me (probably because I'm a Twins fan). But reason being, is that none of the pitchers are really "locked" for the rotation. There are a few such as Baker, Boof Bonser and Livan Hernandez who have probably earned to have the mentality of "it's my job to lose" compared to the many other pitchers who are trying to push them out of a spot with a mentality of, "I have to prove myself to them." That's not to say that Baker and the others don't need to prove themselves, because they do, but they don't have to prove themselves as much as a say a guy like Nick Blackburn or Philip Humber who haven't proven themselves to be even an asset to a major league ball club yet. It should be interesting to see who makes the rotation, and who doesn't. I think we can all make our best guesses, but without guys like Johan Santana who are definite locks, then it makes the competition that much more interesting.

I'm excited to see how the Twins do this afternoon, in our first "official" spring training game of the season.