I went out to the CenturyLink Sports Complex on Tuesday morning and it was pretty much what I expected with the team on the road in Port Charlotte to play the Rays in an exhibition game. The players that stayed behind went through some light workouts and I watched Jose Berrios and Trevor May throw in the bullpen for a short time. Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer stayed behind according to old baseball tradition they have earned the right not to have to travel to road games. Some things never change I guess.
The one odd thing I noticed when I first drove into the complex was some guy flying a drone over the back fields where the minor league players who have not officially started camp yet were going through their paces. I wish I would have stopped and chatted with him to find out who he was and what he was doing but I didn’t. It did get me to thinking though about how long this kind of thing will be allowed. Who was this guy anyway? Maybe just a fan, maybe a Twins employee, maybe a reporter, or maybe a spy… We will never know unless he shows up again I guess.
Rhett Bollinger wrote this morning outfield prospect Alex Kirilloff, the Twins’ first-round pick in the 2016 draft suffered a partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament and will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on March 8. Kirilloff is the second high Twins position player prospect in recent years to require Tommy John surgery. Miguel Sano missed the 2014 season due to the same procedure. Kirilloff was apparently injured at Elizabethton in late August and a platelet-rich plasma injection therapy was attempted but Kirilloff experienced pain again this spring. I know surgery is always a last resort but had he had the surgery right away, Kirilloff would be almost six months behind the surgery at this point. I know, easy to say now after the fact, but that is the beauty of doing this blog, it gives me the fredom to do so. Is this just a coincidence that the Twins have had two highly rated position players require TJ surgery in three years? This old guy does not believe in coincidences but I am not sure what to make of it, maybe it goes back to those trees being taken out of Target field back in 2010 when the Twins downward spiral began.
I was doing some painting yesterday at our condo and listening to the Twins play the Rays in Port Charlotte. I could not believe what I was hearing as the Rays ripped pretty much every pitcher the Twins sent to the mound. The Twins didn’t even get a hit until the 7th inning I believe. The game I was listening to was a Rays station so it was interesting to hear their perspective on things. Former player Dante Bichette who had a 14 year big league career was one of the announcers and he had some interesting thoughts and observations as the game went along, I enjoyed listening to him much more than I do to our guy Dan Gladden. But losing 19-0, how can you lose a spring training game 19 to zip and only get three hits yourself? That is dismal, actually it is pathetic, and to think the Twins had numerous Twins “regulars” playing. I am confident that the Twins will be a better team in 2017 than what they showed in 2016 but games like this won’t sell tickets and put fans in the seats.
In 2015 the Twins started the season 1-6 and last year they started 0-9 before putting a game in the “w” column. If the Twins get off to another miserable start in 2017, I am thinking that manager Paul Molitor will be looking for a new job before the end of April. The Twins can’t afford a third consecutive slow start and ticket sales certainly can’t handle that kind of stress. I find it interesting that nothing is being written about the Twins slow starts under Molitor and what happens if the same scenario takes place in 2017. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine have no loyalty to Paul Molitor and his leash could be a short one.