With less than a week to opening day, the Twins got their roster down to 29 players. Lefty Phil Dumatrait and catcher Danny Lehmann will remain with the team thru Monday, then report to the minor league camp. Pitchers Carlos Gutierrez, Chuck James and Kyle Waldrop together with catcher Rene Rivera, infielder Chase Lambin and outfielder Brian Dinkelman will travel with the Twins to Atlanta. They will return to Ft. Myers following the Braves games where they will join the Red Wings who open their season on April 7th.
Earlier this week, the Twins attempted to get Pat Neshek through waivers so he could be assigned to the Rochester without remaining on the 40-man roster. The best explanation of this move that I have seen was written earlier this week by our friend, Seth Stohs. Seth believes that this move was done because the Twins believe that several of the younger relievers have passed Pat and that they doubted he would ever return to his pre injury form. For all of us who knew Pat, we wish him well in San Diego.
One of the four cuts will come when they decide who will get the utility infielder spot, Luke Hughes or Matt Tolbert. With over 450 votes last week, the readers of Twinkie Town said they expected Luke Hughes to get the spot by nearly a two to one margin. With Tolbert's bat heating up this past week and Hughes cooling off, would the vote be different if held today?
Anthony Slama threw only one inning early in camp and appears that he will open the season either at Rochester or on the disabled list. The final two cuts will come from a group of five relievers, three of whom will make the opening day roster. They are lefties Glen Perkins, who is out of options, Scott Diamond, who was a Rule 5 pick, and Dusty Hughes. Also included are right handed relievers Jeff Manship and Jim Hoey. I am not aware of any way to make our weekly poll a best three of five, so today's question will be who is the most likely of the five to make the opening day roster. Will our reader selections agree with Twins management when they make their decision next week?
After the jump I will touch on a few highlights from minor league camp.
Ryan Mullins was one of the Red Wings top starters last year, before missing the last couple months with an injury. It is great seeing Ryan back on the mound, pitching two shutout innings and picking up the win on Thursday versus Pawtuckett. Rene Tosoni had a big three run home run in that game off Red Sox starter, Tim Wakefield.
Anthony Swarzak made a couple starts this week, pitching three innings in each while allowing only one run. Yorman Bazardo and Kyle Gibson each threw three shutout inning in Monday's 1-0 win. Dustin Martin had a pair of hits and drove in the winning run. Martin also had a home run in Wednesday's win while Juan Portes had a two run homer in Tuesday's 5-5 tie. Eric Hacker got the start in the tie, allowing three runs in 4.0 innings.
All indications are that the New Britain Rock Cats will have a roster very similar to opening day last year. One difference will be Tony Davis, Billy Bullock, Dakota Watts and a healthy Spencer Steedley and Steven Hirschfeld who are candidates for their bullpen. A strong bullpen will be a huge improvement as the Cats try to rebound from one of the worst seasons in league history. It appears an improved Deolis Guerra will be the Ace of the staff. It will be interesting to see if Liam Hendriks moves up to the Cats on opening day or if the Twins wait and Hendriks and former first round pick Alex Wimmers join the team in late May or early June?