Opening Night Notes
· I will be at the Twins/A’s game on Saturday night at Target Field. Looking forward to my first glance at the updated Target Field and seeing a game there.
· Be sure to check out last night’s 45-minute episode of Twins Minor League Weekly for much more Twins minor league information.
· If you missed it live, you can listen to my appearance on KFAN with Paul Allen this morning by clicking on here. It was live at 10:55 yesterday.
Thank you for stopping by SethSpeaks.net. Before we get into the minor league game notes, I wanted to briefly touch on my thoughts on the Nishioka injury and what will happen. First, I thought that Swisher was well within his rights and the slide was hard but legal. Second, Nishioka’s feet were planted, something you don’t want for obvious reasons now. But it was a fairly close play at 2B and clearly Nishioka’s intent was not just to stand there. I’ve heard a couple of people blame Gardy and his coaches for not preparing Nishioka better. Yes, I too find that comical. It is an unfortunate injury, to be sure. A fractured fibula will likely cost Nishioka anywhere from four weeks to two months. Maybe longer. The Twins immediately put him on the Disabled List and to the surprise of no one, they recalled Luke Hughes from Rochester. (In as subsequent move, Toby Gardenhire will move from New Britain to Rochester.) Does it hurt to lose your starting second baseman and Number Two hitter? Of course. Does it somehow mean that the Twins 2011 season is over? Of course not. The Twins have overcome much more in recent years. Losing an MVP for a month. Losing an MVP for a half-season. Hughes will come up and hopefully be the primary second baseman. He won’t be as good defensively, but he will be fine. Offensively, he won’t be as good overall, but he can provide power and should do well against left-handed pitching. Yes, I would move Joe Mauer up to the #2 spot in the lineup, Delmon Young to #3, Cuddyer to 5 and Valencia to 7 with Hughes batting eighth. I think the idea of Alexi Casilla batting second is ridiculous. But even if they do go in that direction, the team will be alright.
Below are game notes and highlights from the Twins affiliates’ Thursday night games. As the season goes along, I will post highlights, extra base hits and pitching performances. I’ll also discuss some notes when applicable. Please feel free to share topic ideas or notes with me. If you have any articles on Twins prospects, notes or more, please feel free to e-mail me.
SethSpeaks.net Minor League Hitter of the Day – Ray Chang, New Britain Rock Cats
Seth Speaks.net Minor League Pitcher of the Day – Anthony Swarzak, Rochester Red Wings
Red Wings Ramblings
Thursday – Red Wings 1, Pawtucket 2 – A slew of veterans played well, but Rochester starts off 2011 right where they left off in 2010, with a loss. Anthony Swarzak pitched very well. In 4.2 innings, he did not allow a run. In fact, he allowed three hits, walked one and struck out seven. He left with a lead and just one out from being able to record a win because he was at his 75-pitch limit. Yorman Bazardo came in and gave up two runs on two hits and two walks in just 1.1 innings to take the loss. Chuck James made his Red Wings debut and gave up one runs on one hit and one walk while striking out three in 1.2 innings. Alex Burnett came on to record the final out. Luke Hughes had been scheduled to play 2B and bat fourth for the Red Wings when, during batting practice, he was told he was heading to Minnesota. The offense managed just six hits in the game. Ben Revere had a double. Nine-hitter Rene Rivera collected the lone RBI with a long double. The Paw Sox threw four guys with big league time in the game. Scott Atchinson found out at the last minute that he was starting because the Red Sox had just called up Alfredo Aceves, who was supposed to start. Atchinson was followed on the mound by Rich Hill, Hideki Okajima and Michael Bowden. Led by three from Trevor Plouffe, the Red Wings had 13 strikeouts and no walks.
On Friday, these two teams will play again, and Eric Hacker will be on the mound. He will be caught by the Red Wings second catcher Steve Holm who caught him last year in Fresno, the AAA-affiliate of the Giants.
Rock Cats Report
Thursday – Rock Cats 4, Richmond 6 – Ray Chang led the Rock Cats offense. He started at 3B and went 3-4 with two doubles and two RBI. Mark Dolenc went 2-4 and stole a base. The team got doubles from Yangervis Solarte, Joe Benson and Danny Lehmann. David Bromberg started on the mound. He gave up three runs on six hits and two walks in just four innings. Jake Stevens came in and threw two shutout frames, allowing a walk and a hit. Spencer Steedley returned after an arm surgery just last May. He struggled and gave up three runs (2 earned) on three hits and a walk in 1.2 innings. Tyler Robertson came on to record the final out.
Deolis Guerra is scheduled to make the start for New Britain on Friday.
Thursday – Miracle 3, Jupiter 2 – The Miracle was the only affiliate of the Twins to record a win on Opening Night. Kane Holbrooks made the start. He gave up two runs on four hits and two walks in his five innings. Lefty Blake Martin came on and pitched two perfect innings. Jhon Garcia pitched a clean eighth inning. Hard-throwing Bruce Pugh came on for the ninth. He gave up one hit, but he struck out three batters to record his first save. Nick Romero led the offense by going 3-4. Aaron Hicks was 1-3 with two walks. He knocked a triple off the wall for his hit. Danny Rams was 2-3 and scored two of the Miracle’s runs. Brian Dozier went 1-3 with a walk and drove in two runs. Paul Kelly started at 3B and batted third for the Miracle. He was 0-4 with a walk.
Miguel Munoz will tote the rubber for the Miracle on Friday night in Jupiter.
The Beloit Snappers’ season opener in Quad Cities was postponed by rain. A week earlier, officials were not certain that the games could be played due to flooding concerns. BJ Hermsen will take the mound for the Snappers when they debut on Friday now. The two teams will try to play a doubleheader on Saturday.
Feel free to leave your thoughts, questions or comments.