It might seem a bit silly to talk about Oswaldo Arcia and his future with the Twins right now. He turned on an inside fastball in the top of the ninth yesterday, pointless as it was, for his fourth home run of the season. It means that, behind Josh Willingham and his six homers, Arcia is tied for second on the team with Trevor Plouffe and co-rookie Aaron Hicks - who also hit a pointless home run in the top of the ninth yesterday afternoon.
I also, quite recently, wrote about how Arcia deserves to keep his job. (It was convenient that he went 2-for-4 with a triple and a home run that night.) I still believe that.
But over the last week or so, and until yesterday afternoon's home run, Arcia was falling into a slump. After going 0-for-12 in four games between the 15th and the 19th, with five strikeouts and four walks (three in one game), Gardy clearly thought the rookie needed a break. He sat in each of the three games in Atlanta this week, in favor of the struggling Chris Parmelee (now hitting .167/.245/.313 in May). It wasn't a punishment. It was management of a young player that needed a couple of days off.
That kind of management and protection can only go so far, obviously. The home run was encouraging, but the message is clear: Arcia needs to find a way to adjust. Everyone now knows he can handle a fastball with ease (and yes, the home run yesterday was off of a fastball). He needs to be less aggressive on pitches that will come too far inside, he needs to figure out how to handle pitchers when they attack his weak zones, and hopefully he can also find a way to hit lefties a little better. It's a small sample size, but right now those splits aren't great.
Well, the "versus RHP" half of the splits are great.
Even with his slump and a few days without starting, Arcia is one of the three or four most talented hitters on the active roster. As long as he continues to show that he can adapt to having full scouting reports on his preferences and weaknesses, the Twins won't send him down. I still fully expect him to be this team's everyday starting right fielder before the season ends.
Unless Josh Willingham gets traded. But that's another story.