Spring Training Update...March 21, 2010

Seth said he expected updates, this will be a short one about yesterday's Red Wings game.

The Red Wings (minus the players still with the Twins) were playing the Orioles.  These games are always scheduled for 1pm, but it is usually smart to get there early.  Got there about 12:25 with the Orioles already batting with several runners on base.  With minor league free agent signee Mark McLemore on the mound, the Orioles scored several early runs as McLemore was giving up lots of early hits. 

In the Twins half of the first, Charlton Jimerson led off as I did a quick double take with #27 on deck.  Then realized that the guy without the uniform with his name on it was J.J. Hardy.  Then I looked over towards the bench at the hitter in the hole and thought, that guy looks old for minor league ball...he also looks familiar.  With one out and a runner on base, Jim Thome stepped into the box against a soft tossing lefty with good control.  Five or six pitches later Thome went back to sit down after looking at a called strike three at the knees on the outside corner (there was some question from the Twins bench about the strike zone after that call).  Thome played three innings, coming up to bat third in each inning.  Instead of sitting on the team bench, he was on a short bench inside the field with Paul Molitor and an unidentified Latin player who was the designated ball retriever for the game.  It had to be special for players scoring during the game as they were first greeted by a Hall of Famer, Paul Molitor, and future Hall of Famer, Jim Thome.

Pitchers seeing action before we had to leave in the seventh inning were Mark McLemore, Justin Jones, Tim Lahey and Rob Delaney.  Of the four, Tim Lahey had the best two innings.  Like Ben Tootle a day earlier, Lahey's ball had a different sound when it hit the catchers mitt.  I was also impressed with Lahey's breaking ball which left a couple hitters walking out of the box shaking their heads.

The Red Wings starting nine was:  Alexander Soto (c), Whit Robbins (1b), Steve Singleton (2b), J.J. Hardy (ss), Matt Macri (3b), Joe Benson (lf), Charlton Jimerson (cf), Dustin Martin (rf), with Thome as the DH.  Later in the game, Yancarlos Ortiz came in to play shortstop when Hardy left about the fifth inning.  Erik Lis replaced Jim Thome as the DH after the third inning...although unlike Thome, Lis had to wait until his spot in the order to bat!

Jim Thome also struck out in his last at bat with runners on base, although this time it was swinging against another outside pitch at the knees off a second lefty.  Steve Singleton had a very nice game making several difficult plays look easy (this was the first time I have seen Steve play and I was impressed with his D).  Charlton Jimerson is quick with a lot of range in center.  On one ball hit into shallow right-center field, Dustin Martin was the only player with a chance to get to it, making a key error as the ball bounced off his glove while on a dead run.  Although Martin's error allowed an unearned run to score, he made up for it with a key hit to drive in a run in the bottom half of the inning.  As a few outfielders move down from the Twins camp, Joe Benson will likely move back to New Britain.  He did himself proud in one at bat when he had a solid single with the bases loaded for a RBI.  

Was sitting a couple rows behind Loek VanMil and several other players who I assumed were Australian or European as most had accents.  Mid-game a couple gals sat in the row in front of Bonnie and I.  Later learned that one was Steve Singleton's girlfriend......Steve has to be a very happy young man!

Will be off to the Twins game later today, enjoy your early spring back home everyone!!!

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