The Twins got five scoreless innings from starter Kevin Slowey today in a 4-1 exhibition victory over the Marlins at Hammond Stadium. After the strong outing, Slowey is now 3-0 with a 0.56 ERA a 15-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 16 innings this spring, which is raising a lot of excitement given the sizable impact that the right-hander can have on the Twins' rotation if he is at the top of his game this season.
Of course, spring training results are always to be taken with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, it's difficult not to feel some measure of giddiness over Slowey's success, given his circumstances. He had his 2009 season cut short by a longstanding wrist injury, which required a rather serious surgical procedure. Slowey came to spring with two screws in his wrist this year, leaving some to wonder whether his signature elite command would pick up where it left off. So far, it seems that it has.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, reliever Clay Condrey coughed up a run on three hits in his one-inning appearance today. The newly acquired right-hander has now allowed at least one run in six consecutive outings this spring and has yet to notch a single strikeout in eight innings. The poor performance has many questioning whether Condrey will make the team, but I must again stress the insignificance of spring numbers. Condrey has posted a 3.16 ERA while pitching for a contending club over the past two seasons, so a handful of ugly exhibition innings shouldn't be raising huge alarms. I still consider him a lock to make the club, though it's possible that his struggles thus far will prevent Ron Gardenhire from using him any high-leverage situations early in the season.
The final player worth commenting on today is Jacque Jones, who went 2-for-3 with a home run and a pair of RBI. I considered Jones an extreme long-shot to make the club out of spring training, but he's now hitting .360 this spring and he seems like the only viable option to back up Denard Span in center field. There still might not be room on the bench for Jones when the team heads north, but at the very least he's making a good impression on the coaching staff and putting himself in line for a call-up should a space become available.