gets the fifth
slot in the rotation.
The Twins this morning optioned out Aaron Hicks, Eddie Rosario and Trevor May and reassigned Mark Hamburger. They also announced that Tommy Milone will be the fifth starter.
This sets up a center field platoon of Jordan Schafer and Shane Robinson, which I saw coming a few days ago. I'm fine with this. After the last two springs, nothing Hicks did in Florida was going to sway my view of him, and while I have high hopes for Rosario, I don't think center field in April 2015 is the right job at the right time for him. Schafer and Robinson aren't much of a much, but that just makes it easier to decide that it's Byron Buxton's time in June or July.
Ron Gardenhire would have made a different decision. Gardy never ran a true left-right platoon for more than a month or so. He'd have picked one center fielder to open the season, probably Hicks, and changed to somebody else in late May when Hicks didn't hit, and we've seen this movie before.
Hamburger's departure was also foreseeable. He opened eyes early in camp but faded late; he didn't make either of my bullpen projections this week. He's got a real good chance of coming up at some point this season, though.
I'm glad Milone is in the rotation, even more pleased that Mike Pelfrey isn't, and a bit discouraged that May is not. As I said earlier this morning, May probably needed some veteran injuries to get a rotation spot. The front office stacked too many contracts in front of him. Milone is a good starter with a better track record than Pelfrey or Ricky Nolasco. We didn't see him pitch that way last year.
So what decisions still await? The backup catcher has yet to be determined. One or two or even three bullpen jobs are still in question. We know Glen Perkins, Casey Fien and Brian Duensing are safe, and it would be a shocker if J.R. Graham didn't come north. That leaves three jobs for Tim Stauffer, Caleb Thielbar, Pelfrey, Blaine Boyer and maybe somebody not currently in the Twins organization.