March 19, 2018

Welcome to the Minnesota Twins, Erick Aybar

Veteran infielder Erick Aybar and relative newcomer Ehire Adrianza likely will have expanded roles with the Twins after shortstop Jorge Polanco was suspended 80 games on Sunday for using performance enhancing drugs.

Sunday’s announcement was an unfortunate blemish on an otherwise promising offseason in which Falvey & Co. have worked hard to add depth to the bullpen, starting rotation and lineup. I hope the news about Polanco isn’t too much of a distraction because the Twins appear ready to have a good season.

Meanwhile, baseball was played Sunday and the Twins beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-3. Jake Odorizzi had a scoreless outing and lowered his spring ERA to 0.87, but it was the kind of performance that likely only works well during spring training. That’s because Odorizzi walked three batters in four innings, yet gave up only two hits with no runs. He also had one strikeout.

Adrianza and Byron Buxton both tripled in the game, while Gregorio Petit hit his second home run this spring.

Extra innings…

-Falvey & Co. have worked hard to get this team ready for 2018, but there’s still the matter of who will fill in for starter Ervin Santana while he recovers from finger surgery. So far there’s not much to choose from.

Phil Hughes would seem like a good choice, but Hughes had a terrible outing Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates, with the Twins finally losing, 13-5. Hughes served up nine runs (five earned) in three-plus innings. He also had one walk, three strikeouts and surrendered two home runs. It wasn’t all his fault because the Twins were terrible on defense and committed four errors.

Tyler Duffey also might be a candidate for a spot start, but he hasn’t pitched that well either. In four games, he is 0-1 with a 4.66 ERA. If not Hughes and Duffey, how about Tyler Kinley? Kinley, drafted by the Miami Marlins in 2013, has appeared in eight games and struck out nine in eight innings with a 2.25 ERA.

-I forgot to mention that Eduardo Escobar will certainly be in the mix to fill in for the suspended Polanco, along with Adrianza and possibly Aybar.

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.