This afternoon was the Twins' game with the Phillies at Fort Myers. The Minor League games also started early today, so the side fields were pretty quiet. As usually before Twins' games at Fort Myers, a select group of players were taking batting practice at Field #5, while the non-playing Pitchers were at the OF to catch the balls. The players there were the backup infielder types and back up catchers: Doumit, Towles, Hollimon, Dozier, Burroughs (who was fine to take BP with a soft splint on his left wrist.) Interesting point number one: Drew Butera was absent from that group. Interesting point number two: Batting practice was under the eyes of these two gentlemen who actually had an animated discussion about some of the participants, but it would be rude to listen to a private conversation now, wouldn't it?
Back to the game. Liriano was starting (which was a treat) but there were a couple of interesting position choices: Ben Revere was the starting Right Fielder and Luke Hughes was the starting first baseman. Hughes later moved to Left Field, when Willingham was lifted for Hollimon who stayed at the game playing 1B. Revere later move to Center Field, when Brian Dinkelman came in.
You can read the box score and pretty much tell what happened in the game. Very encouraged by Liriano who was hitting 91-94 mph with his Fastball and was locating it properly. Also he induced a lot of ground outs, most with his slider and some with his FB, which is encouraging to see. As far as his mechanics go, he did stay tall (this delivery is on a slider) the whole outing
Mauer and Morneau made solid contact. Especially encouraging was to see a couple of hard and far hit balls by Morneau, including a Home Run. Here is his home run swing:
The people with "access" might have more information and they might have talked about it by now, but it appears that Willingham got something going on with his left forearm:
Alexi Casilla laid a perfect bunt and he is one of the best bunters in the majors, but his bunting form is somewhat unorthodox:
Speaking about Frankie staying tall, this was later in the game after he got into trouble. Truly, most of the Frankie's trouble was defensive issues. Valencia could have been easily given an error on that ball that passed through 3rd base and Span should have caught that soft pop in shallow center at the 3rd inning. So Frankie did not stay tall at least in that one pitch (and that was a Fastball) :
Brian Duensing had a very nice outing and surprisingly, he had the fastest pitch of the game. Most of his fastballs were from 90-92 but one hit 95 to stuck out looking the last batter he faced:
Did I say how nice is to see Mauer and Morneau getting on base?
And all Luke knows how to do, is to knock runners in
Hard to figure what's been going on with Perk (and Capps for that matter). Maybe because it was their first back to back appearance this Spring. But I really think that the issue of the matter is deeper: He is trying to re-grow that Amish looking beard he had a couple seasons ago and we all know where that led him. So about time to make changes...
On the other hand there has been word of Capps' split finger fastball. Did not see that one today, but Capps really labored and his regular fastball was sitting at 91-92 which is a bit slower that where it should be this season. (And do not blame the gun. Liriano hit 94 and Duensing 95 on the same game earlier)
Burnett finished the game and he looked underwhelming... I think that he will be on the round of the next casualties along with Drew Butera. At some point the Twins had Casey Fien warming up at the 9th inning... with a 5 run lead, when Burnett was pitching. I think that this speaks tons about the confidence the Twins' have on him at this point.
Tomorrow the Twins are playing the Pirates away in Bradenton. I will be staying at Fort Myers and covering action at the Minor League fields.