Wetmore: 5 thoughts on depth, Danny Santana, and deep drives
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MINNEAPOLIS - The Twins were shut out Friday in a dominant outing from Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez. He struck out 10, walked one and surrendered only three hits in 7 1/3 innings. He had struggled this season entering Friday, and obviously is no longer the electric pitcher who was a treat to watch with the Colorado Rockies, but Friday was a highly effective outing.
This column presents 5 thoughts from Friday's series-opening loss to Baltimore.
As always, feel free to ask any questions or make any observations in the comments. If you have a unique baseball observation during a game, feel free to share it with me on Twitter (@DerekWetmore).
1. Sam Fuld made a catch in deep centerfield at the wall in the first inning off Manny Machado. Fuld crashed into the wall as he made the catch, in an eerily similar fashion to the play Aaron Hicks attempted to make Thursday. Not that the Twins really have any worthy alternatives, but they would be in a predicament if Fuld were injured. The emergency plan in center is Chris Herrmann.
The Twins could exhale Friday, because Fuld's play didn't have the same result as the one Hicks tried to make. Hicks' came in the sixth inning of the second game Thursday, and eventually forced him from the game with a concussion. Hicks hit the seven-day concussion disabled list Friday. That made room on the roster for Danny Santana, whom the Twins will recall before Saturday's game. He was en route Friday night and is expected to be ready in time for Saturday's game.
2. The Twins elected to add a third shortstop in Santana instead of an outfielder. They didn't want to rush Oswaldo Arcia on his rehab stint, but it's reasonable to assume he may be close to returning. Provided he's healthy, his bat would be a worthy boost to the lineup.
Another option on the 40-man roster would have been Eduardo Nunez, but he's injured. The rest of the players either wouldn't help the current roster construction (Eric Fryer) or may not be ready for a role in the big leagues (Jorge Polanco, Kennys Vargas, Max Kepler and Kenny Wilson).
3. Ricky Nolasco gave up three very-near home runs in Friday's outing in addition to a very long home run. I mentioned Machado's single to center. Matt Wieters hit one of the longest singles in Target Field history when his second-inning drive came just short of going out of the park to right-center. Never a speed demon, Wieters made a big turn at first base before slamming on the brakes and retreating to first.
Machado also belted one to left in the sixth inning that was only good for a single. The next batter, Nelson Cruz, pulverized a Ricky Nolasco two-seam fastball to the third deck in left field. It traveled an estimated 424 feet, a true tape measure home run.
4. Mike Pelfrey will go on the disabled list with a strained groin. Assistant GM Rob Antony and manager Ron Gardenhire said Pelfrey didn't disclose the injury Thursday night because he didn't want to make excuses, but Pelfrey said it felt sore Friday when he got to the park. Whether or not the groin tweak helps explain his poor outing Thursday afternoon, it can't explain why Pelfrey has been so bad in his other starts. His ineffectiveness should be a real concern for the Twins. They're paying him $11 million in total this season and next. Maybe some time off and a rehab stint can help him improve, but if not the Twins are looking at a lousy return on investment.
Pelfrey said he has seen tape of himself from the past and compared it to this year's Pelfrey. His arm is slower, his body is slower and he's not throwing strikes as often as he'd like. He said he's unsure of the root cause.
5. Friday the first 10,000 fans received a Chris Colabello cowbell, a promotion that was not on the schedule at the beginning of the season. Not many -- if anybody at all -- expected the April we just saw from Colabello. Not even the Twins promotions department.
Colabello has a nice back story and his April was a heck of a ride, which the Twins perhaps wisely used as a promotional opportunity before the bubble burst. It's fair, though, to wonder how long it will last.