Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Back to Baseball

Boof Bonser's exploratory surgery revealed a partially torn labrum and rotator cuff, and he now will likely miss the 2009 season. This is bad news for Boof, who was surely looking forward to improving upon what was, overall, a calamitous 2008 campaign. It was not a sure thing that he would be a solid contributor in the bullpen, but his stuff certainly fits the role, so this injury will cost the Twins some depth they might have used out of the 'pen this year. However, the overall impact on the roster won't be terrible. Philip Humber will now almost certainly make the team (he'll have to utterly stink to risk a trip through waivers after Brian Bass was protected last spring). If the Twins elect to go with 12 pitchers, there may be a slot for Jose Mijares. There may also be a spot for some as yet unsigned reliever - Dennys Reyes is still available! But it also gives them a rationale to leave camp with only 6 relievers (Joe Nathan, Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Craig Breslow, Luis Ayala and Humber), providing an extra bench spot for this spring's Matt Tolbert. Or for last spring's Matt Tolbert.

Twins 5, Boston 2
Twins lead Mayor's Cup 1-0

It was great to turn on Gameday and listen to TRN again. I was even excited to hear this year's crop of bummer PSAs between innings. And I couldn't wait to find out how the 2008 wunderkinds were growing up on the field.

Glen Perkins was reminiscent of many of his starts last season - at least the first 2 innings of those starts. He was efficient despite allowing a hit in each inning, only struck out a batter every other inning and got 5 fly ball outs. Yep, that's his game.

It was good to see a lot of patience by the hitters vs. Tim Wakefield. It's gotta be tough to face a knuckleballer in your first game, but the Twins made him throw a ton of pitches and dinked their way to a crooked number in the 2nd. Morneau, Cuddyer and Kubel all drew walks.

How typical to see Delmon Young come out hacking at the first pitch in his first AB, get behind 0-2, then come up with an IF hit (ground ball, of course). In his 2nd AB, he wisely followed Kubel's walk by taking a couple of pitches and working ahead 2-1, but then grounded into a DP. No progress there so far.

Brian Buscher was the only player who hit Wakefield hard, and he ripped a double in his 2nd AB. Could he be locked in after being displaced by Joe Crede? Or will this spring be like last year, when he hit a HR in his first game vs. Boston, then scuffled the rest of the month?

Buscher's replacement at 3rd, Danny Valencia, also came up with a couple of hits.

I wasn't terribly surprised to see that of Crain, Nathan and Ayala, it was Nathan who struggled. He's the one whose role is secure, and so he has nothing to do this spring but tune himself up. Maybe a bit less of a mental edge than the other guys had.

Good to get the Mayor's Cup started on the right foot (I want that cup!). I can't wait to see what the rest of the guys have in store tomorrow. Baseball is back!

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