Twins to Make First Cuts of Spring Training Tomorrow

The Twins are expected to make their first round of spring training trimmings on Monday morning, and they should be liberal. I'm not sure if they'll trim the roster by 20, but they certainly could. By way of touching on some highlights from both of Minnesota's games this afternoon, we'll look at a few guys who are making a decent case for themselves this spring, as well as a few who aren't doing themselves any favors.

But first, a few highlights from both of Minnesota's games today.

  • Luke Hughes was 2-for-4 today, picking up another RBI...and another strikeout. This spring he's 12-for-34 with six extra base hits, 11 RBI, two walks and nine strikeouts. Hughes leads the team in at-bats this spring in spite of not leading the team in games played--Gardy is giving him every opportunity to showcase what can can do. While I still think it will take an injury for Hughes to go north with the Twins, they obviously like him as one of the first infielders to be called up.
  • Brian Dinkelman was just 1-for-5 today, but his one hit was a big three-run homer. It was his first of the spring. Unfortunately, the Twins have given him quite a few opportunities this spring as well: he shares the team lead with 14 games played and is third with 28 at-bats, and he hasn't done much at the plate. I know the Twins like his versatility, but I'm not sure what it would take for us to see him in a Twins uniform this year.
  • 40-man roster pitchers Glen Perkins and Anthony Swarzak both pitched well today. They've looked decent this spring, and at the very least have been effective in their innings. Perkins, as a southpaw who's out of options, will have a better chance of making the roster than Swarzak, but depending on how confident the Twins are in Dusty Hughes we could see the Twins attempt to sneak Perk through waivers so that they can keep him in triple-A.
  • Jason Repko was 0-for-2 today...with three walks. He's not in any danger of losing his roster spot to Ben Revere, I just thought that was worth noting.
  • Speaking of Revere, he combined with Trevour Plouffe and Matt Tolbert to go 0-for-10 today. Tolbert is the only one who will go north, although I'm sure none of them will get kicked out of spring training tomorrow. In spite of lackluster springs, if the Twins need an outfielder or a shortstop it's not like either Revere or Plouffe are in danger of losing their place in the depth chart.
  • Joe Nathan got pummeled today. Again, just worth noting.

Bullpen Candidates

With Nathan, Matt Capps and Jose Mijares locking down three spots in the bullpen, and starter #6 locking down a fourth, the Minnesota bullpen is looking for three guys to step in and take a role. Here's how the candidates have done this spring.

  • Pat Neshek is doing well, striking out three in 5.1 innings, allowing just one run on three hits and walk. His stock is definitely on the rise.
  • Jeff Manship profiles as more of a long man than a middle reliever, so unless the Twins deal one of their starters it's hard to see him making the bullpen out of spring training. He's allowed four runs in six innings, off six hits and a pair of walks.
  • Alex Burnett hasn't been bad either. He's walked just one and struck out three in five innings, but in such a small sample that home run and three runs make his ERA look uninspiring. If the Twins aren't enamored witha nother righty, I wouldn't be surprised to see Burnett be the other one making the trek along with Neshek.
  • Jim Hoey the fireballer just has problems throwing strikes. He's walked four and allowed seven hits in 5.1 innings, including a pair of homers. Assuming the Twins want one other lefty in the 'pen besides Mijares, that leaves room for two right-handers and I think both Neshek and Burnett have the inside track on Hoey right now.
  • Glen Perkins we've mentioned as one of the lefties. He's been effective this spring, and his options status might play a big role here. There's a very real chance that he gets the job and it just becomes his to lose.
  • Dusty Hughes is another lefty who the Twins like, based off his performance against them in 2010 if nothing else. In five appearances he's struck out three and allowed just one hit, at that's the entirety of his line so far. His chances of going north are inversely proportional to how much faith the Twins have in Perkins, and possibly based on whether or not they can sneak Perk through waivers as well.
  • Scott Diamond has a sexy 1.50 ERA, but he's walked six in six innings. Combine that with his six hits allowed, and the ERA is a bit over its head right now. The Twins will have to work out a trade with Atlanta if they want to assign him to Rochester, which means he's another difficult roster choice along with Perkins.
  • Chuck James is the dark horse, and there's no doubt he's been a little up and down. In 4.1 innings he has allowed three runs, but he's also struck out five and not walked anybody. Because of his status, however, I do think he's still a longshot and is probably a good arm to stash in triple-A. Break in case of emergency.
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