"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Riders on the Storm Pine

Okay, so once you've got yourself a rotation, a bullpen, a catcher, an infield and an outfield, all you need is a designated hitter and a bench.

The Twins normally carry 11 pitchers. Add in the starting position players and you've got 6 roster spots left, and some of those spots aren't exactly up for grabs.

Your 2006 designated hitter will be Rondell White. Honestly, did anyone really think Ruben Sierra was there as anything more than a thinly veiled attempt to create artificial competition inside Rondell's head? The man's had more than 400 at-bats in a season once since 1996. Besides, White is tearing it up in spring training. Baseball gods willing, he will defy every known norm of Twins baseball and continue into the regular season.

Reprising his role as backup catcher, everybody give Mike Redmond a hand. There isn't even a pretense of competition here.

Your fourth outfielder this year will be either Lew Ford or Michael Cuddyer, whichever doesn't get the starting right fielder role. I'm sort of assuming it'll be Lew.

Once again, your utility infielders will be Nick Punto and Juan Castro. But wait! Castro is injured. Could this open a door for Luis Rodriguez? Damn, but I hope so. I love to watch that guy play.

And last but not least, the 25th guy who will hardly ever play unless someone much more important gets injured could be just about anybody. Sierra might make a reappearance as a left-handed pinch hitter. Rodriguez could worm his way onto the roster in this role. The much-neglected but often useful Terry Tiffee could claw his way to Minnesota there. Jason Kubel will probably get his post-rehab innings in at Rochester, but you never know--this team always needs good hitters. Glenn Williams and Jason Tyner both performed well for the Twins in limited action last season and are back this spring, fighting for a chance. Garrett Jones looks ready for the majors to me, but the poor boy is a first baseman and, well, we have Justin "Gonna Need a Longer Tape Measure For That One" Morneau, don't we? And last but certainly not least we have Rule V draftee Jason Pridie, who has to get on the roster, go back to the Devil Rays organization, or become part of some sort of deal between the two teams. The Twins seem to like him, but they'll cough up a minor league pitcher or two before they'll put Pridie on the major-league roster.

And now, a question back to you, dear reader(s): Who should it be? Who do you most want to have lurking on the far end of that bench, ready to dash out and open a can of whoop-ass on our enemies, especially the Whine Sox?

3 rejoinders:

Jim H. sounded off...

Kubel, because he's young and wants to prove something. Sierra, because he can still swing the bat (he runs, however, like an older version of Brian Buchanan). Also I like Sierra's presence in the clubhouse.

Jim H.

TwinsJunkie sounded off...

I could care less about Sierra's clubhouse presence, but he will get the spot (assuming his quad heals up).

I really want Jason to get that spot, but it probably won't turn out that way.

frightwig sounded off...

What I really want is for Batista to be released, Cuddyer back at 3B, Kubel in RF, and Tiffee taking the last spot on the bench.

I assume that the Twins management wants Batista at 3B, Cuddyer in RF, Sierra taking the last spot on the bench, and Kubel and Tiffee at AAA to open the season.