While it's hard to imagine anything besides more dull, dreary winter here in Minnesota as we bear down for another snow storm this week, down in Florida, the Twins have begun their 2014 Spring Training, as pitchers and catchers reported in on Sunday. With those glorious words, all the fun of the baseball season begins.
This week, we'll be taking a look at a few key players who have shown up to Ft. Myers for Spring Training thus far, and where we can expect to see them once the season begins.
We'll start with pitchers because, as Blyleven's always said, they're the best athletes on the field.
Scott Diamond (LHP) - Diamond's seen action with the club in Minnesota plenty of times in the past, but the fact remains that he ended last season as a minor leaguer and will have to fight hard to make the 5th rotation spot this season. With the four veterans pretty much guaranteed a spot in the starting rotation, Diamond (who, along with Samuel Deduno and Vance Worley, is out of minor league options) will be competing against 3 others for that fifth position.
Samuel Deduno (RHP) - As noted above, Deduno and his wild-but-maybe-not-so-wild pitching will be competing for that fifth open spot. Deduno is also out of options at this point, so it will definitely be interesting to see how this will play out.
Vance Worley (RHP) - Worley, who came back to Spring Training 25 lbs lighter, has a lot to prove, after his disastrous start with the Twins last season. In just 10 starts with the club last year, he posted a 7+ ERA. If he can resort back to his Phillies-era pitching, we may see him in the fifth spot on Opening Day.
Kyle Gibson (RHP) - Gibson has been toiling away in AAA for what seems to have been forever now. He did make appearances with the team last year, but did run into troubles often. It could be argued (that is, I'm arguing) that Gibson could do with more time at AAA, but at this point in his career, you have to start wondering what the actual potential is. He's also a likely candidate to be battling it out for the fifth rotation spot.
Edgar Ibarra (LHP) - Diagnosed with Hepatitis B nearly a month ago, Ibarra is the only Twins pitcher that hasn't thrown a full bullpen session yet. Per Bollinger, Ibarra started throwing on flat ground yesterday and looks to throw a complete bullpen by the end of the week.
Joe Mauer - Do we really have to cover this scrub? He showed up for P&C, but has already made the move to first base. We all know Mauer's skills (or overratedness AMIRITE) at the catching position, so he leaves big shoes to fill for Kurt Suzuki, who will likely take the position.
Kurt Suzuki - The Twins picked Suzuki up this past offseason in one of their better moves. Last season, Suzuki played in just 15 games for the A's, but has been a steady man behind the plate for many seasons.
Josmil Pinto - After some arm/elbow issues in Venezuelan Winter Ball, Pinto now says he's "almost at 100 percent", which is great news, considering he'll likely be making catching appearances with the club this season. Last season, as a September call-up, Pinto posted some pretty impressive numbers, though it appears Gardenhire wants him to perhaps platoon with Suzuki behind the plate, as opposed to getting more playing time in Rochester.
Chris Herrmann - While Herrmann played a lot of outfield as a call-up last season, his primary position is catcher, and he remains an option for backup for the team. He posted just a .204 average with the team in 57 games played last season.
So what say you, Twinkie Town? Who do we see as the Minnesota Twins Starting Rotation of Doom 2014? And while it's pretty much a given that Suzuki is the everyday starting catcher, do you think Gardy will platoon him with Pinto? Or will we maybe see more Ryan Doumit and Chris Herrmann behind the plate? Sound off in the comments!