Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Doug Bernier and the lingering effects of spring training

Doug Bernier is 34 and
has played in 42
major league games.
Eduardo Nunez hit the disabled list after Tuesday's game, a move that apparently followed a few days of hoping that his left oblique strain would quickly subside. It didn't, and so minor league vet Doug Bernier gets the call to sit on the major league bench.

(This appears to be the first time this year that the Twins did not respond immediately to an injury by making a move. Nunez's DL stint is retroactive to Thursday, six days ago. They certainly didn't wait to sideline Oswaldo Arcia, or pitchers Casey Fien or Brian Duensing before him.)

Bernier isn't likely to see much playing time, but then neither was Nunez. They're both right-handed hitting infielders who rank behind Eduardo Escobar in the utilityman hierarchy, and it's a reasonable surmise that the purpose of having either on the roster is to allow Escobar to play in the outfield and still have an infielder on the bench.

Bernier takes the 40-man roster spot opened by Ervin Santana's suspension, which means somebody's gotta go by early July. But that's two months off, and plenty can happen between then and now -- not the least of which is that Nunez figures to return first, removing the reason for having Bernier on the 25-man roster -- and Bernier would have to be outrighted to be returned to Rochester.

Bernier, like Eddie Rosario, hasn't put up numbers at Rochester . Both were picked, it appears, partly on the basis of being the last man out among infielders and outfielders respectively during spring training and partly on the basis of being a something of a match for the role of the injured player they're replacing on the roster.

But they're only something of a match. Arcia and Rosario are left-handed hitting outfielders, but Rosario is a line-drive hitter and a good defensive outfielder; Arcia is a strikeout-prone slugger who is abysmal in the field. Bernier and Nunez are are right-handed hitting infielders who play multiple positions, but Nunez is a bat-first guy and Bernier a glove-first guy.

The bigger factor is this: Had the Arcia and Nunez injuries occured in late March rather than early May, Rosario and Bernier would have opened the season in the majors. Last ones out, first ones up.

1 comment:

  1. I assume there is hope Arcia is coachable, otherwise he is a somwhat faster carbon copy of outfielder Delmon Young (who I could never understand being a #1 pick)? Or, someone you would trade for?????