News and Notes from the Twins Spring Training: 2/25/17

This is the latest report of the happenings in the Twins' Spring training.   The previous one is here, and can find all 2017 Twins Spring Training related posts here.  I will be describing events of interesting in the Twins' camp as well as happenings with former Twins.  For two weeks these reports will be live from Fort Myers and will be indicated in the title.

  • Twins LHP Craig Breslow decided to focus in the Twins' Spring Training and making the team, and will not pitch for Israel in the WBC 
  • Similarly former Twins RHP Liam Hendricks, now with the A's will not participate in the WBC team Australia.
  • The Twins who had the worst record last season in the majors, are ranked ahead of several other teams in the Sports Illustrated Power Rankings by Jonah Keri.
  • The Twins played their first game hosting the Rays on Friday.  Some highlights:
    • Kyle Gibson threw 30 pitches and almost got 2 innings of work, if it were not for a throwing error charged to SS Jorge Polanco on a throw that 1B Kennys Vargas could not get from the dirt.  Gibson struck out 2 in the first inning and he induced ground balls with his 90-91 mph two-seamer.  The news is that he has been throwing his four-seamer up in the zone up to 94 and that missed bats.  Also threw off-speed pitches at 80-81 mph.
    • Byungho Park, who was the DH, got the first hit for the Twins in the second inning as a single and got a double (that was a missed HR) in the 4th inning.
    • Brandon Kintzler and Justin Haley had a few problems and allowed a run each.
    • Brian Buxton stole third base, something he should try to do more.
  • Wayne Krivsky, 63 years old, was demoted from "Special Assistant to the GM" to "Scout." Expect him to retire. Also, the Twins have hired former Chicago Cubs advance scout Keith Stohr and Earl Frishman was promoted to special assignment scout.
  • The Twins went across town to Jet Blue to play the Red Sox on Saturday.
    • There was not a radar in the stadium but Phil Hughes did not look ready, with his velocity approximately in the high 80s.  He fell behind every batter he faced and was saved by a double play at the end.  His command was just not there and the ball was all over the plate.   
    • Tyler Duffey who followed Hughes was sharper and pitched for one inning.  Ryan Vogelsong followed for 2/3s of an inning and got rocked.  He was very inconsistent, had a wild pitch, among the 32 pitches he threw, and ended up having to throw fastballs down the middle when fell behind the count, which, of course, did not work.  Lefty Randy Rosario who followed was impressive striking out Xander Bogards.  Adalberto Mejia followed in the fifth and was tested against Mookie Betts, Hanley Ramirez, Mitch Moreland, Chris Young, and Pablo Santoval. His breaking ball looked great and fastball was mostly effective; allowing a double to Betts, grounding out Ramirez, and striking out Moreland, walking Young and got Santoval to fly out, however Grossman botched the play.
    • Byungho Park continued being of fire with a HR, followed by a sacrifice fly; Drew Stubbs struck out twice and hit a long HR on dead centerfield against Matt Barnes, and lost a couple of balls in the sun.
    • Interesting substitution that might indicate their relative position in the Twins' depth charts: J.B. Shuck came in to play Centerfield while Zach Granite played Right Field.  Also, C Chris Gimenez who is battling for the back up spot, played first base as a sub, showing his versatility.

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