GameChat – Marlins @ Twins, 12:05 pm, FSN/MLB.tv

With just two weeks left before Opening Day, it’s time for us here at Knuckleballs to have a little Spring Training of our own. Let’s find out if the GameChat widget is ready for the new season, shall we?

The Twins lineup today looks will be facing off against former Twins pitcher Kevin Slowey, who’s on the mound for Miami. I can’t say I recognize much of anyone else in the Marlins’ lineup. Maybe none of their regulars made the trip or maybe these are their regulars and I just have no idea who they are.

The Twins, on the other hand, are sending out a group that is perhaps pretty close to what we might see on Opening Day, with 2-3 possible exceptions.

With Darin Mastroianni sent to minor league camp this morning, I think the Twins signaled that Aaron Hicks will be their starting CF, rather than Alex Presley. But other than that, I think today’s lineup could easily be what we see when the Twins open up against the White Sox in Chicago.

I know people still think Jason Kubel hasn’t shown enough this spring to earn the DH job and I can’t argue that he has, but he’s going to get every opportunity to seal the deal over the next two weeks.

I’m sure the Twins are still hoping Pedro Florimon will be ready by Opening Day, but if he’s not, today’s shortstop, Eduardo Escobar, is likely to be the guy there.

Here are today’s lineups:

MARLINS

@

TWINS
Solano, D, SS Presley, CF
Brantly, C Dozier, 2B
Baker, Je, 3B Mauer, 1B
Ozuna, LF Willingham, LF
Wigginton, 1B Kubel, DH
Bogusevic, CF Plouffe, 3B
Johnson, R, RF Arcia, O, RF
Riddle, DH Suzuki, K, C
Harbin, 2B Escobar, E, SS
_Slowey, P   _Nolasco, P
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Miami 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 1
Minnesota 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 0 x 4 9 0

Nice win for the Twins.

Ricky Nolasco had to work a bit too hard to get through five innings, maybe, but his last couple innings were efficient enough and all of the relief pitchers (Thielbar, Perkins, Burton and Guerra) looked good.

Trevor Plouffe and Oswaldo Arcia each had a pair of hits to lead the offense. It still looks far from potent, but they outscored the other guys and that’s what the game is about.

Monday is a night game against the Orioles up in Sarasota.

Things Are Coming Together

It’s Sunday morning and that usually means a “Sunday Morning Comic Relief” post from CapitalBabs, but Babs is otherwise occupied this weekend.

It seems we have a new member of the Knuckleballs family. I got an email from Babs on Friday announcing that she had given birth to a seven pound, 15 ounce, baby girl!

Margaret Ann Smith 3/14/14, 6:46 am 7 lbs 15 oz 19.5 inches long


Margaret Ann Smith
3/14/14, 6:46 am
7 lbs 15 oz
19.5 inches long

"Kirbee" circa 2035

“Kirbee” circa 2035

Babs and her hubby may feel otherwise, but I think it’s obvious that, given she shares a birthday with a certain Twins Hall of Fame outfielder, little Margaret Ann should hereafter be referred to here at Knuckleballs as “Kirbee”.

Please join us here in congratulating Babs and Andrew.

In Twins news, another round of roster moves were made this morning. Eight more players were moved across the parking lot to the minor league clubhouse, leaving 40 guys still in big league camp.

Pitchers Kris Johnson and Sean Gilmartin were never really expected to stick on the Twins staff, though either or both could see time with the Twins during the season. The same would be true of outfielder Jermaine Mitchell and infilelders James Beresford and Brandon Waring. It wasn’t a shock to see that fivesome moved to the minor league camp.

The three other demotions were perhaps a bit more surprising to some.

Shortstop Danny Santana has been hitting well (though fielding not nearly so well) and, with Pedro Florimon still working his way back from an appendectomy, Santana has been getting a long look. But Florimon is ready to return and he’s going to need all the innings he can get to be ready by Opening Day. Santana was never going to make the Twins roster out of camp and he really needs to get innings in the field every day.

Darin Mastroianni has been competing for the centerfield job, but also got his walking papers. That would appear to mean Aaron Hicks will be the starting outfielder for the Twins, with Alex Presley as the club’s fourth outfielder. The Twins will want Hicks playing every day, so if he was not going to be starting for them, he’d probably have been the guy walking across the parking lot.

The Twins also pared down the competition at catcher, sending down Eric Fryer. That leaves Josmil Pinto and Chris Herrmann continuing to fight for a spot, along with Kurt Suzuki, among the Twins’ backstop corps. There had been speculation that Fryer would be kept as Suzuki’s backup, while Pinto refined his trade in Rochester.

Today’s game against the Marlins is on TV, I believe, so perhaps we’ll open up a GameChat window, if anyone feels like stopping by. Ricky Nolasco is starting for the Twins and old friend Kevin Slowey will be on the mound for Miami. The posted Twins lineup looks a lot like what we might expect to see on Opening Day.

JC