Thursday, June 20, 2019

Notes, quotes and comment

The Twins roster continues to churn:

  • IF-OF Marwin Gonzalez goes on the IL with a strained hamstring
  • RHP Blake Parker goes on the family emergency list
  • LHP Aldaberto Mejia goes on the 60-day injured list, which removes him from the 40-man roster.

  • C-IF-OF Willians Astudillo is recalled
  • RHP Sean Poppen has his contract selected and is brought up.

Poppen, a starter who has split 2019 between Double A Penascola and Triple A Rochester and been pretty dominating in Triple A, wound up pitching four innings Wednesday night, throwing 70 pitches. Three were scoreless; the other was ... not. He showed good stuff, but command and control were obvious issues. At least he ate innings and saved the rest of the bullpen after the Tuesday marathon,

If there was an obvious bullpen arm to call up I would expect the Twins to do so, because Poppen's not going to be available for a while.


It was a weird lineup Rocco Baldelli threw out there Wednesday, almost certainly because the Tuesday game was so long.

Luis Arraez played shortstop. Astudillo played second. Jake Cave was in center, with Max Kepler in right. And, of course, Mitch Garver was nowhere to be seen after catching 17 innings.

The outfield alignment prompted some pregame Twitter back-and-forth between Aaron Gleeman and me until I broke it off to get back to the job I was getting paid to do. We agree that Kepler is the superior centerfielder, and Gleeman noted that Baldelli had treated him as such in the few previous game in which one started in center and the other in right.

I think the difference is fatigue, or perhaps more accurately the prevention of fatigue. Kepler was supposed to get a day off on Tuesday, but he wound up getting four at-bats after the Gonzalez injury. Right field is easier than center.

My sense of the Wednesday lineup was that the priority was: Let's not cripple anybody. Baldelli's own playing career ran aground on unique fatigue issues, and one of his managerial themes has been conservation of energy.


Arraez continues to impress in his limited major league exposure. On Wednesday he went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and played a clean game at short, by which I mean no errors.

He's no shortstop, of course; he was there because Jorge Polanco played 17 innings the night before and both Ehire Adrianza and Gonzalez are on the injured list.

LaVelle Neal predicted on Twitter during that game that Arraez would be the second baseman and leadoff hitter next season. I think he's more likely to be traded in the next few weeks for pitching help. If he isn't, he might be the second baseman by August, considering how Jonathan Schoop appears to have lost his command as a hitter of the strike zone.

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