Sunday, April 3, 2005

One More Time...

Spring Training tails off

There's no crying in baseball. Except on the days when the guys get cut. Or on the last days of spring training. Or on the last days of the season. Because then everyone is getting ready to ship off. Or nearly everyone. And so, I'm ready to cry. I'm a girl. I'm going to miss these guys. Yeah, I'll get over it.

The Rock Cats, Red Wings and Snappers are pretty much packed up and ready to go. A few more adjustments to the roster and then...before you know it, it will be opening day.

I had hoped to watch the Rock Cats yesterday and the Snappers today but the rain out yesterday ended that plan. To further complicate matters, the Red Sox cancelled out on today's games - except for the Rookie League - because they didn't have enough players. So I have to wonder, what ever happened to all the players they had?

So this led me to bouncing around from field to field to field watching Red Wings, Rock Cats, Snappers and Miracle. And getting waylaid by quite a few quys.

Mostly the Miller/Miller/Durbin contingent who where scoring the game between the Rock Cats and Red Wings.

"Hey, you said the Rock Cats are going to suck." I assured Jason Miller I'd never said that. I did point out that someone mentioned they looked like the weakest of the teams this season, and that I did agree with that remark. However, they have shored up the fielding a bit with the additions of Luis Jimeniz and Gil Velazquez, plus they have Bryan Kennedy and Gabby Torres which will help journeyman catcher Jose Morales work on his weak spots.

I mean, I just got done writing a very upbeat article for the Dugout. So see Jason, I never said they were sucking.

I named Matt Yeatman my favorite Rock Cat. He was my favorite Miracle.

"Who's going to be your favorite Miracle this year?" Probably Kyle. "Kyle?"

"Yeah, you know Kyle and Kyle and the two catchers."

"Oh yeah, Phillips. Who's the other one?


"What I want to know," J.D. Durbin says, "Is who was your favorite player when we were here?"

"We" being him and Colby Miller.

"Tommy Watkins," Jason Miller volunteers. "He's a local boy."

I point out that Jason is a local boy too. "I am not."

"Okay, you're one hour away from being a local boy." Sarasotians think they are from the big city, as opposed to us small town Fort Myers folks.

One of them, Colby maybe, volunteers that he's 33 hours away from being a local boy. That's pushing it.

I finally offered that the 2003 squad was too hard to pick a favorite from and escape.

(Just for the record, in 2002 it was Josh Rabe and Terry Tiffee and in 2001 it was Gabby Torres.) But honestly, in 2003, is was super Joe Mauer.

I discover that Travis Bowyer will be pitching one inning of relief for the Red Wings. They need some relief as the score was 9-2 Rock Cats at that point. Dave Gassner did not have it going on.

Find Trey Hodges warming up in the bullpen for the Red wings. Head back to the Rock Cats side of the things and find Josh Gray has joined the group being home plate.

"Then again, Josh here could be my new favorite Miracle." Get looks flashed at me over shoulders. Skeddatle over to the Miracle side of the park.

Discover that there were more roster changes but that there is not a new roster so I don't know the extent. But Ben Pattee is now on the Miracle roster.

Chat with Ben for a bit who is in the on deck circle while Geiger is batting. "Great," he says dejectedly. "I'm not even going to get to bat." Turns out that Gieger was the last batter and they were rolling the inning. Poor baby.

Got pictures of Angel Garcia pitching, he actually looked pretty good on the mound. He was giving Geiger some difficulties.

Angel Garcia

There is a pictorial side to this narative, but I dropped the film off, went over the B.O.A. to use the ATM, and there my car sits. Dead. I'm not happy, especially as the windows are down and I can't get them up again without power. Jumping didn't work. Maybe a dead cell in the battery. Won't know until tomorrow when I can get it towed to the dealership. Frag it all.

That would be the cheap repair. We won't talk about the rest of the problems it's been having.

Much thanks to my neighbor, Angie, for taking me to the lab to pick up the pictures. (And she doesn't even like baseball!)

In any case back to the games. I have no idea what the score on the Snappers' game was, but I head around the corner to see what's going on the Snappers' side of the field.

"Hey, you're not leaving," Gray says.

"Um, no, I'm just going to check out the Snappers."

"You're supposed to be watching the Miracle." I explain that I'm going to have them all season and I have friends on the Snappers who I won't be seeing for a while again and that the Miracle can wait.

He's not happy with this. What kind of fan am I?

Evidently, the Ultimate Twins Fan as I now have another endorsement from Jim Abbott's Mother-in-Law on that one. I don't know if she reads this column or not. Some of the boys are, that's for sure.

Anyway, I tell him he'll have to introduce me to his new teammates on Wednesday. Wednesday? Season ticket holder party. I suggest he could start with the guy he's standing next to.

"I'm J.P. Martinez," the fellow tells me. "I"m with the Snappers." Yes he is. Too bad, he pitched really quite well when I watched the Miracle thump the Snappers last weekend. I tell him this.

Josh tells him that I really know baseball. I say well, yeah, ya'll will get used to me. Go bounding off to check on the Snappers. I FINALLY get to watch Trevor Plouffe play short stop! However, most of the plays were mundane and he handled them easily. I wanted to see... well...

Go bounding back to the Rock Cats side of the field and watch J.T. Thomas warming up in the bullpen. I must have made him nervous, as he suddenly throws clear out of the pen and onto the field where the Single A game is going on. This sends J.T. into a fit of giggles and I wonder if he'll be able to get it together again to throw.

John Thomas

Check back briefly with Tommy Watkins' mom and the Abbott-in-laws. Notice Travis warming up in the pen and manage to get past the Millers while the are otherwise occupied.

This was about the only time I set my butt down for more than oh...five seconds. Settled in to watch Trav pitch.

Trevor Bowyer

He struck out Luis Maza as the first batter. Allowed a double, and got the third Cat out on an outfield fly. Struck out the fouth batter to end the inning. Good work Trav.

Go bounding off again to harrass Colby and J.D....

· The most recent version of the training camp roster is available Here. Like I said, Pattee has been moved down to the Miracle.

· Abby's wife asked me if I was coming to New Britain this year, which makes me wonder if he was sent down to the Rock Cats. We might go. It depends. Now it really depends with the car dead.

· Cuts this week: Pitchers Manny Tajada, Eric Brandon, Hiroyuki Iida, Chris Marini, Alex Garcia; Catchers Andy Daigler, Heath Anderson, and Josh Johnson; 1st Baseman Dusty Goman; 3rd Baseman Brett Tamburrino and outfielder Ryan Sparto. Pitcher J.C. Contraras was released prior to the start of camp.

Goman was reportedly released because he was a slugger who never made contact enough for his power to emerge. Tamburrino I covered in another post. Hampered by injuries, his power has fallen off of late and so has his value to the Twins. Although he still has something most of us will never have: a silver medal.

· Injury report: Gray is on the DL, but says he's ready to go. I had a look at Trent Oeltgen's eye. He looks okay except for some blood in eye on the side of his face where he took the bat. He said he will probably play a week or so on extended-spring training before being added to the Miracle roster.

· Has the whole system gone catcher crazy?

While I still question the inclusion of Corky Miller on the Twins bench, to make matters worse, Gabby Torres has been retained as the "floater" for the AAA/AA teams. He's nominally on the Rock Cats roster.

Meanwhile the Snappers had FOUR guys on their catching roster. I only saw Korry Feiner and Javier Sanchez today, which may or may not be important.

It will be interesting to see how the opening night rosters work out.

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