Monday, March 16, 2015

The next step of spring training.

Jose Berrios was among the first cuts the Twins made,
but not because he pitched poorly.
The Twins made one set of camp cuts before Sunday's game and another set after it.

We know that Byron Buxton, Jose Berrios and Max Kepler were sent to the minor league side. There are conflicting reports on Miguel Sano, who told reporters he had been told he was being sent out but who wasn't on the list issued Sunday afternoon by the Twins.

That sounds like some language barrier at work. My guess is they told Sano he will be sent out soon, and he understood it to be immediately.

The departure of Buxton, Sano and Berrios -- plus Kepler and Jorge Polanco -- removes much of the interest from spring training for me, so it's just as well that this isn't a year for a Fort Myers jaunt for me.

Nor are these early demotions a surprise.

The Twins were never going to seriously consider either Buxton or Sano for the big club this spring, not after their injury-ridden 2014s. And the millions the front office has invested in veteran starting pitchers -- Phil Hughes, Ervin Santana, Ricky Nolasco, Mike Pelfrey, Tommy Milone, even Tim Stauffer -- appears to preclude more advanced arms than Berrios (Alex Meyer and Trevor May) from getting April action.

Early demotions for Buxton, Berrios and the others were the plan, and the Twins are sticking with that plan. I'm not endorsing the plan, but I understand it. If Buxton isn't going to be the centerfielder, and he isn't, send him down and free up the playing time for the guys who might be. If Berrios isn't going to be in the April rotation, send him down and open the innings to stretch out the guys who will be.

I say that even though I would much rather watch Berrios and Buxton than Aaron Hicks or Jordan Schafer, or Pelfrey or Stauffer. When we get down to it, the Chattanooga Lookouts figure to be a much more interesting team to watch this year -- Buxton, Sano, Polanco, Kepler, maybe Berrios -- than the big league team will be. That was my expectation coming into spring training, and it's my expectation halfway through spring training.

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