Monday, April 8, 2013

Notes from the weekend

Pedro Hernandez went five innings Sunday in his first
appearance with the Twins. He was acquired from
the White Sox in the Francisco Liriano trade last summer.
The Twins pitching staff always figured to be a work in progress this season, and the shuffling began this weekend -- not a week since Opening Day.

Tyler Robertson was optioned out a day after he threw a get-me-over fastball on the first pitch to Chris Davis (who hit it out of the park). Cole De Vries was put on the disabled list. Pedro Hernandez was called up from Triple A to make Sunday's start in De Vries' stead, and Anthony Swarzak came off the disabled list (and got the win Sunday in relief).

More shuffling awaits. Scott Diamond made what is intended to be his final rehab start Sunday; he's scheduled to start Friday when the Twins return to Target Field.

The Twins play in Kansas City today, Tuesday and Wednesday, with Kevin Correia, Mike Pelfrey and Liam Hendriks lined up. Hendriks really needs a good start Wednesday; as matters stand, he's the most likely guy to be sent out to make room for Diamond.


Josh Roenicke gave the Twins a very solid three-inning relief outing Saturday. That's got to be one of the longer outings for a Twins reliever under Ron Gardenhire, maybe the longest in a non-extra-inning game.

That was essentially the way the Rockies used Roenicke last season, as what they called a "piggyback" reliever, and last season was by far his most successful in the majors. The chatter this spring about him has been that the Twins had shorter outings in mind for him, but -- for what little it's worth -- he wasn't impressive in his two short relief games against the Tigers.

Having two long relievers -- Swarzak and Roenicke -- might not be a bad idea for the Twins, who don't figure to get a lot of seven- and eight-inning starts.


Aaron Hicks had a single Sunday. It was his second hit of the young season and lifted his average all the way to .077. Two-for-26, with 11 strikeouts.

That's a slow start. It's hardly unprecedented, however. Willie Mays famously began his career 0-for-26, and he turned out OK. (His 27th at-bat was a homer off the great Warren Spahn, who for years joked: I blame myself for Mays. If I'd gotten him out, maybe they'd have gotten rid of him.) Not that Hicks is Willie Mays, mind you, but if Mays can go 0-for-26, anybody can. Josh Hamilton came into Sunday night's game 1-for-20 with 10 strikeouts.

There wasn't good reason to expect Hicks to hit as well as he did in spring training (.370/.407/.644), and there is no good reason to believe Hicks is as bad as his numbers in the first week of play suggest. The Twins should stick with him, and I expect them to do so.


  1. Edward: really enjoyed post, wish you could do more. If we only had more time! Your comment re: Mays start similar to Hicks, et. al., fitting. Other than a miscue overrunning a ball in RC field, it appears Hicks is already a major upgrade defensively over Span, and yes Ben "Nothing Runs Like" Revere too. Takes great routes to ball, has a cannon arm. That said, am hoping he can hit at least .250, Torii's output at similar stage. You also were spot on, IMHO, with need for both Roenicke/Swarzak usage in long relief. Believe Gardy used Matt Guerrier 3+ a few times in long relief. Your comment brought to mind Gene Mauch's use of Bill Campbell, Tom Johnson, Mike Marshall, etc., in 3 inning closing roles...completely different era! You can find me at

  2. I will "Second" Michael B's remark. I like reading your perspective.