Saturday, April 24, 2010

The bench shuffle

The Twins finally stuck Nick Punto on the DL Friday. Why not? He's only been out about a week. Man hit the ball high off the left field fence one day and hasn't played since.

Luke Hughes (left) got the call. He's from Australia, reputed to be a pretty good right-handed hitter. The Twins have deployed him all over the field in the minors trying to find a place he fits in. A little short with the glove in the middle infield, a bit light on power for the outfield. He's been playing second so far in Triple A.

Jim Thome has been a more effective hitter so far than I expected, but his presence — combined with the 12-man pitching staff — really shortens the bench, especially if they're nursing a day-to-day-injury (such as Punto's) along.

Four bench players: Thome, Drew Butera, Alexi Casilla and now Hughes. Thome has no position. Butera is limited to catcher. Which means that for almost a week, Casilla was backing up seven positions. Hughes has more OF experience than Casilla does, not that I expect him to get much PT out there.

Meanwhile Brendan Harris is hitting .176. I wouldn't be surprised if Hughes gets a start at third base this weekend.


Jack Morris, doing some radio fill-in work during the homestand, was puzzled by the defense used against Thome — a sharply shifted infield, with three men on the right side on second, but the outfield playing straight away.

Morris' bewilderment leads me to suspect he doesn't pay much attention to the games when he's not working. Thome seldom hits grounders to the left side but actually hits more fly balls to left than to right.

The defensive positioning isn't random or whimsical.

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