March 18, 2008

Liriano Struggles

Francisco Liriano struggled in his start yesterday. He breezed through the first two innings before allowing a run in the third. He went into the fourth, but allowed two more runners on base before being taken out. He was later tagged with the runs as Brian Bass let them in. Both Dennys Reyes and Pat Neshek continued their stellar springs with a shutout inning for each of them.

Offensively, Jason Pridie doubled to lead off the game, but it was his only hit of the game. Delmon Young later drove him in with an RBI single to center field. Adam Everett had a good day, going 2-3 with an RBI double.

Unfortunately, the Twins loss to the Marlins, 5-3, despite both teams recording 10 hits each. Despite Liriano's poor results, it's a great thing to see that he's able to at least go into the fourth inning. He threw nearly 60 pitches, in just his third start since arriving to Ft. Myers. He's making progress, and although he seems confident that he'll be ready to start the season in the bullpen with the Twins, I just hope that he stays healthy and can work on all the rest of the glitches later. His health is (to me) the biggest concern, as it generally takes (at least) a year to start regaining form. As long as Liriano can stay healthy, I don't think I can be upset.

On a side note: Steven Tolleson got to suit up with the big league club yesterday and went 1-1 at the plate while replacing Adam Everett at shortstop.

Today, the Twins will face the Baltimore Orioles and Philip Humber is set to make his first start of the Spring. He's been pitching great all Spring and can hopefully improve his chances of landing a possible rotation spot. Unfortunately, he'll probably need to be lights out for the rest of Spring in order to claim a spot as both Francisco Liriano and Kevin Slowey continue to improve.

Toby Gardenhire is scheduled to suit up as a backup infielder, and it's likely he'll get at least one at bat and will probably play the field just a little bit. When asked about it, father (and manager) Ron Gardenhire said:
"He gets meal money. That's good. That's less I have to spend."
Center Field Watch: Craig Monroe got his first start in center field yesterday, and went 0-3 at the plate. He was replaced by Denard Span later in the game, but did not do anything to suggest that the Twins would be better off with him in center, over either Span or Carlos Gomez. It didn't help when his biggest task was to catch a routine fly ball. He's likely not in the running anyway for a starting spot, but he will probably spend time there when either Span or Gomez need a day off. Either way, here's a funny article on Gardenhire's "irrational love" for Monroe.

Scott Baker skipped his bullpen session yesterday as he's still recovering from a strained lat muscle, but instead of his back causing him to skip the session, it is a flu bug that's gotten to Randy Ruiz, Carmen Cali, Rick Anderson and others as well. He has not pitched in a game in 10 days. With this setback in his return, he may be forced to start the season on the disabled list if he can't get back to action soon.

Here's a good video of Michael Cuddyer doing a card trick with Denard Span.