NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 19: Rene Rivera #32 of the Minnesota Twins strikes out in the fifth inning against the New York Yankees during a game at Yankee Stadium on September 19, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Sometimes, the team that goes on the road for the famous one-day split-squad road trips of spring training can be a little, let's say, less-than-full-strength. Monday, only veteran Michael Cuddyer made the long trip; the remainder of the first-string Twins stayed back, with the exception of second-year man Danny Valencia, who took some extra at-bats against live pitching as the designated hitter. Lefthander Jose Mijares also got some work out of the bullpen as he tries to work himself into shape, but the remainder of the team will likely spend most of its time in Rochester Red Wings colors this year.
To be fair, the JV Twins put on a good show against what was a near-full-strength team for the home New York crowd. Chris Parmelee homered and doubled off of Yankees starter A.J. Burnett, extending his springtime average to an impressive .368. Cuddyer, showing his veteran leadership, also homered and played the full nine innings. Potential Twins center fielder of the future Ben Revere had three singles and stole two bases in three attempts, showing off the speed that Minnesota hopes may grace its lineup as soon as 2012 or 2013.
Starter Scott Diamond had some difficulty, giving up five runs on ten hits in four innings. After leadoff man Derek Jeter singled in the bottom of the first, Curtis Granderson went deep off of Diamond to spot New York the early 2-0 lead. The young lefthander walked three and struck out just one, and though he struggled, he may be in the running for a spot start or two at the back of the Twins' rotation this year.
Unfortunately for the Twins, they just couldn't manufacture a hit with runners in scoring position, going just 1-14 in that situation. With most of the regulars taking rest in Minnesota, the Twins can hope this isn't a season-long problem.
(Sure, this game counts in the standings. Sure, Mariano Rivera got the career save record, which must be nice for him. But this game is honestly as meaningless as your average split-squad spring training game and was manned by a team that should be licking its wounds from another ugly Rochester season rather than getting whacked by the Yankees in a rainout game. As such, I feel pretty good in ignoring it almost entirely.)