Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hughes and Hughes

Patrick Reusse has an article on the Twins bullpen today that suggests it is coming into shape with Nathan, Capps, Mijares at the front as expected. Reusse seems to think Manship and Hughes are next in line with Diamond and Perkins competing for the third left hander. That leaves room for either the 6th starter or one other pitcher. While I respect Reusse, I am not sure that is an accurate read of the current state of affairs, but even if it was I think he is way ahead of himself.  We are just getting to the point in spring training where the hitters have started to catch up with the pitchers. From here to the end of the season the real tests will happen as every team, like the Twins, start to play their regulars and players who still have a legitimate shot at a place on the roster. Reusse also thinks the Twins may move a starter, likely Slowey, to get a hard throwing right hander for the bullpen. That scenario also seems unlikely to me. It may happen, but more likely later in the season when things have settled out more. Including making sure Gibson is really ready to contribute if needed.

The other "story" is that Luke Hughes may win the utility spot. This is based on the fact that Gardy thinks Hughes is a legitimate hitter and he said the utility guy didn't absolutely have to be able to play shortstop. He could move Nishioka over there if he needed to. This still seems extremely unlikely. While, as Gardy admits, Nishioka can play shortstop, I don't think a double play combination of Hughes and Nishioka is something Gardy is going to want to do very often. You essentially weaken yourself at two positions with two rookies and a shortstop with language difficulties. Not a good scenario. I suspect Gardy wants to keep Hughes spirits up, but I don't think there is really much chance of his winning the job. If he does, it is a sign Gardy has some doubts about either Casilla or Valencia offense. Because those are the only two guys Hughes would likely pinch hit for. I guess he might get an at bat for Kubel, but with Thome on the bench even that seems unlikely.

Frankly, this looks like the work of a professional sports writer making a lot of meat out of some pretty thin gruel. I guess we will find out as the next two weeks play out. 

1 comment:

Ben said...

Gardenhire has shown recently that he's willing to sacrifice defense for offense. He played Cuddyer at CF, 3B, and 2B.

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