Friday, April 4, 2008
Iíve got about 20 minutes before I have to drive in to work, so I thought I would put a couple of notes out there. There was a lot of discussion on the Twins minor league games last night. Here are a few highlights.
∑ Rochester won its opener 9-5 in Norfolk. Glen Perkins wasnít too good in the start. Sure, he gave up just two runs (and only one earned) in his three innings, but he allowed four hits and walked five hitters. Room for improvement, right? Casey Daigle, Mariano Gomez, Julio DePaula and Heath Totten then worked to a few hitters. Ricky Barrett threw two very strong innings and gets the win. Bobby Korecky pitched the ninth. Garrett Jones went 3-4 with a double and two RBI in the game. The top two hitters in the lineup, Denard Span and Alexi Casilla both went 2-5.
∑ New Britain was shut out 3-0 at home against Portland. The Rockcats managed just five hits and you may be surprised that Drew Butera had two of them. Matt Moses added the only extra base hit, a double. Moses played in LF with David Winfree out in RF. I think CF Brandon Roberts may have to cover some ground in that outfield! Ryan Mullins started and went five shutout innings. He gave up two hits and two walks. Zach Ward and Jason Miller each threw a scoreless inning. Armando Gabino took the loss as he gave up and earned run (his first in AA!) on two hits and a walk. Ben Julianel gave up two more runs in his inning. Justin Masterson, who Twins fans heard a lot about this offseason, started and threw four shutout frames.
∑ The story of the night though had to be the start of Francisco Liriano. The Twins star lefty was making the start for the Ft. Myers Miracle in their opener as he continues to work his way back from Tommy John surgery. He went the first 5.1 innings and gave up four runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out eight. He left the game in the sixth inning with two on and Cole DeVries came in and allowed the inherited runners to score, plus four more runs in an inning and a third. Jose Lugo and Danny Vais finished the final 2.1 innings. Wilson Ramos got off to a great start by going 3-5 with a homer and two RBI. Danny Valencia was 1-3 with a walk, a homer and four RBI. Rene Tosoni, who basically skipped Beloit, had two hits in four at bats. Did I mention that the Miracle fell to Sarasota 8-6 in the game?
∑ Back to LirianoÖ I could honestly care less about the numbers. It is all about working his pitches, gaining confidence and getting his arm stronger and stronger. He threw 82 pitches last night. That is another step forward.
∑ Finally, the Beloit opener against Kane County was postponed by rain. Hopefully they will get started tonight.
∑ By the way, I encourage you to check out the Gameday Magazine Q&A with Tom Swift, a frequent SethSpeaks reader and the author of Chief Benderís Burden. Chief Bender was a Native American, born in White Earth, MN, who overcame many obstacles and became a Hall of Fame pitcher. As the article says, he will be at the game tonight where you can get a book at a discounted price.
∑ Kevin Slowey did strain his right biceps. It is likely that he will be skipped this next time through the rotation as the schedule provides the Twins an off day when he would normally pitch. That really is the ideal situation. Obviously we wish Kevin the best and hope that he is able to return shortly. I am also very happy that Gardy immediately said that Francisco Liriano is not an option for that spot. They need to stay on plan with him and remain patient. If Slowey needs to go on the DL for a couple of starts, Philip Humber could come up at any time.
∑ Seriously, at this point, you just have to feel bad for this guy!
∑ John Sickels profiles a sleeper prospect named Dirk Nikana Vadjer. You may, like me, be asking Who is that? Well, we learn right away that he is a Twins prospect. So, the fact that I didnít recognize the name floored me. I felt bad. Anyway, the Twins signed the 17 year old out of The Netherlands to a $900,000 bonus. Check out the story to learn more.
∑ Sickels also considers Zach Ward a Sleeper prospect that is worth watching.†
∑ Finally, I couldnít stand Jeff Brantley on ESPN. Heís an idiot, so props to Aaron Gleeman for posting the YouTube video of Edwin Encarnacion making Brantley eat some crow!
Have a great Friday!