Monday, April 18, 2016

Thoughts from the weekend

A happier image for the Twins than in yesterday's post:
Oswaldo Arcia and interviewer Marney Gellner get doused
by Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario after Arcia's game-winner.

A few comments after the Twins swept the Angels during the weekend:

* The late-inning bullpen work was part of the problem in the nine-game losing streak that opened the Twins season. But on Sunday Kevin Jepsen and Trevor May had strong one-inning outings, and Casey Fien/Ryan O'Rourke combined for a hitless inning.

Perhaps the revelation was Michael Tonkin, who overpowered Mike Trout and Albert Pujols (and others) in his two-innings stint. Tonkin essentially made the roster out of camp because he was out of options. Sunday was just his third outing, and he looked, for once, like a pitcher who could dominate the International League (which he did last season).

I'm not forecasting an immediate role promotion for Tonkin. But what I've long called the Greg McMichael Rule always applies: Get outs and theyll find a role for you.

*Oswaldo Arcia hit the go-ahead homer on Saturday and got the game-winner on Sunday -- and went opposite field on both. I suspect he hasn't had two hits to left field in the same month previously. (And he had another left-field hit on Sunday.)

Terry Ryan on Arcia from the gamer by the  Pioneer Press' Mike Berardino:

“I guess I have to keep reminding myself that lad is still 24,” Ryan said. “It seems like he’s 34, he’s been around so long. Maybe I have to make sure everybody else remembers it as well.”

Well, yeah.  I was ready to discard Arcia during the offseason. And, to be blunt, it takes more than a good weekend to discard the label I'd put on him from three seasons' exposure. Maybe he's figured it out. And maybe he'll revert to the pull-happy defensive butcher he's been in the past.

The Twins have plenty of outfielders to pick from. Arcia this weekend put himself back in the running for playing time.

* Trevor Plouffe left the game with what was deemed a strained intercostal muscle. Supposedly he's day-to-day, but these things have a tendency to linger.

Whether Plouffe is out two games or two weeks, do not expect Miguel Sano to start at third. The big guy hasn't taken grounders there since winter ball. He's an outfielder now. I'm not saying he's a good outfielder now, but he wasn't a good third baseman either, and the Twins are not going to yo-yo him back and forth.

Here's an issue, however: if Plouffe stays on the active roster but can't play, there Twins now have no backup infielder. Presumably Eduardo Nunez will play third, but the four-man bench will be Plouffe, the backup catcher and two outfielders. Sano and Eddie Rosario have infield experience. If something happens, somebody will have to play second or third.

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