Sunday, March 1, 2009
Spring Training Update; Nathan News
Before I get onto my thoughts about Spring Training so far, I would like to share a key piece of news I read this morning. Early this morning, Joe Nathan informed the Twins that his AC joint in his shoulder has been sore and he has withdrawn from the World Baseball Classic. This is a very smart move by Joe. Some players may ignore that and continue to play in the WBC as planned. So I applaud Joe for taking himself out and resting his shoulder/arm.
The Twins are off to a fast start in Spring Training. They now have a record of 4-0 after defeating the New York Yankees yesterday by a score of 7-3. The Twins have been doing everything right so far this Spring. Their hitting has been outstanding; their pitching has been very good. I have been very happy with what I have read and seen thus far. But I have learned from the past, it’s way too early to get excited about the Spring. Anything can happen over the next several weeks.
Francisco Liriano made his Spring debut yesterday and struggled early. He would eventually give up two earned runs off four hits. He pitched two innings, before being relieved by Jason Jones, the Twins Rule V pick. I didn’t expect Francisco to be lights out his first day starting, so I’m not worried about it at all.
The bullpen has been the biggest surprise to be this Spring so far, but like I said, we are only four games into the pre-season. The only bad outing by a Twins relief pitcher has been Philip Humber. Humber gave up four runs on four hits and hit a batter last Thursday against Cincinnati. The Twins did win that game however 10-4. Humber will be interesting to watch this Spring to see if he can rebound and consistently pitch well. Otherwise, he could be gone, as he is out of options.
The Twins hitting has been very impressive in the short amount of time. They have been able to get the runs when they need them and more. Delmon Young has been a surprise this Spring, as he is fighting for an outfield spot. In 3 games he is hitting .857 with one double and two RBI. If he can continue to play like this, he will have the inside track of making the starting lineup come Opening Day.
Another guy who is catching my eye is Brian Buscher. As we all know about the off-season debate of who the Twins third baseman will be. Toss the Joe Crede signing in that mess and Buscher was all of the sudden on the outside looking in to make the Opening Day roster. Well, the Twins may have to re-think their plans as he is off to a fast start. In 3 games, he is hitting .750 with one homerun, four RBI and 11 total bases. The only issue working against him is that the Twins are in need of more right handed power and not left handed power.