Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More spring training anticipation

I posted Tuesday about my upcoming spring training vacation. Lo and behold, the tickets for two of the games arrived in the mail that same day. Beautiful.

Kyle Gibson starred at Missouri and fell
to the Twins in the 2009 draft because
of a stress fracture in his forearm.
Also Tuesday: the news of the 19 "invitations" to the Twins major league camp issues to players not on the 40-man roster. As always, the list is heavy with catchers -- there are 20 pitchers on the 40-man roster right now, even Carl Pavano yet to be officially signed, and somebody's got to be on the receiving end of all those throws.

The headline news on the list is pitcher Kyle Gibson, generally regarded as the organization's top prospect. Joe Christensen tweeted that Gibson is "knocking on the door" for a rotation spot, but it's going to take multiple injuries for him to make the roster. Assuming Pavano is re-signed (as all indications suggest), the Twins will have six established starters in camp plus a handful of guys with major league experience. Gibson's realistic goal is to make Ron Gardenhire and Rick Anderson remember him come July.

The non-headline news: No Toby Gardenhire. The manager's son has been a non-roster invitee the past two seasons as a deep reserve catcher. But the idea that he has established himself as a catching option is belied by his meager playing time behind the dish in the minors: One game in 2009, two games in 2010.

He's what is known as an "organization player" -- kept around to meet roster requirements but not a real prospect. It's possible that he's been cut loose, but he's more likely going to be a bench guy at Double A or Triple A.

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