OK, today's game doesn't mean squat. The Twins threw their A team against a pack of Pirate rub-a-dubs, and predictably enough won 4-1.
The important part was Charlie Morton did OK pitching. Morton allowed one run on five hits in six innings of work, walking one and striking out three. He looks ready to get the season goin', as do Paul Maholm and Zach Duke. Daniel McCutchen has been passable, and Ross Ohlendorf...well, Ohlie needs a little work.
The big news is the herd of right-handers the Bucs shipped back to Indy: Jeff Karstens, Vinnie Chulk, Brian Bass, Steven Jackson, Jeremy Powell and Anthony Claggett all went, along with catcher Luke Carlin.
That takes the roster down to 30, with Jose Ascanio almost surely getting placed on the 60-day DL and Joel Hanrahan on the 15-day. So three cuts to go.
And no, we're not guessing. They could carry an extra bat for a couple or three weeks and go with four starters. They have to do some rearranging of the 40-man roster. They have guys with options that are probably better than the guys without options, but that and $5 will get you a small latte. They have, for goodness sake, Hayden Penn. They are looking to dump at least Ramon Vazquez, and who knows who may pop up on the waiver wire that they've drooled over?
What is sure? Jack Taschner and D.J. Carrasco are in so far - and both need to bump someone of the 40-man roster. Hayden Penn, maybe. The rotation is Zach Duke, Ross Ohlendorf, Paul Maholm, and Charlie Morton through April; who knows what they plan for Daniel McCutchen, Kevin Hart, Brad Lincoln, and Penn? GW doesn't think the suits know themselves.
Bobby Crosby, Delwyn Young, Ryan Church, all in. Eric Kratz, doubtful - if they burn Jason Jaramillo's option to get him a couple hundred more at bats in AAA, they are not setting up the future very well.
That leaves Ramon Vazquez, Steve Pearce, and John Raynor in play for one or two bench spots. Don't count out Pearce; they need a RH off the bench, especially one that can come in as a defensive first baseman beside turning the order around. But there's where that option comes in...he has one; Raynor doesn't. (And yah, it's possible that Clement could go down, but very unlikely).
So hey, it's getting close to opening day. But all the drama is at the back end of the roster. Your 2010 starting lineup will be:
Aki Uwamura, 2B
Andrew McCutchen, CF
Garrett Jones, RF
Ryan Doumit, C
Lastings Milledge, LF
Jeff Clement, 1B
Andy LaRoche, 3B
Your Starting Pitcher
Ronny Cedeno, SS
Milledge and Clement could switch, but it is better balanced with Milledge hitting fifth if he can produce. And so the starting lineup going into camp will be the starting lineup leaving camp. We'll soon see if that's a good or bad thing.
-- Here's what Matt Pouliot of Rotoworld thinks will be the final roster for the Bucs and the NL.