Pitchers Already in Full Gear.
With all Twins pitchers now healthy and the addition of some new pitchers, the Twins are as poised as ever to put together a staff that can get them to the World Series in the 2010 season.
Manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson are understandably optimistic about the pitching staff but have a ways to go with plenty of good pitchers this spring training. A pretty unusual spot to be in for the two coaches.
The starting 5 man rotation will be an open competition but it's safe to say that Carl Pavano, Nick Blackburn, & Scott Baker will be shoe ins. Assuming Kevin Slowey, who led the team in wins last year before going down with an injury, will be 100% healthy, the 4th spot or better will be his. The 5th spot is no longer Francisco Lirianos. After having another bad year after Tommy John surgery in 2007 he is in danger of even making the team this year. A few years ago you would have thought he was on his way to a hall of fame career but not anymore.
Formerly disgruntled and really good pitcher Glen Perkins and surprising youngster Brian Duensing along with non-roster invitee and former Tigers 21 game loser Mike Maroth will be fighting for that 5th spot in the rotation. Maroth has actually had a pretty good career since then when the Tigers were one of the the worst offensive teams in baseball. The Twins offensive should get him the support he needs to win 12-15 games should he be the 5th starter. In fact any of the Twins pitchers should win 12-15 or better.
The bullpen was the Twins biggest disappointment last season and they hope to turn it around with late last season acquisition stud Jon Rauch who pitch very well for the Twins in last years playoffs. Clay Condrey, the World Series winning relief pitcher from the 2008 Phillies will also get a spot in the bullpen.
Local fan favorite Pat Nesak will be back this season 14 months removed from having Tommy John surgery to repair his blown out elbow. With his submarine delivery he was one of the best set up men in baseball before he got hurt early in 2008. He will be back but probably won't be the set up man until he proves he is 100%.
Jesse Crain, Jeff Manship (great name), and Matt Guerrier are also locks to make the staff after putting up solid numbers in 2009.
And then there's Joe Nathan. He is repeatedly the best pitcher on the Twins staff and in all of baseball but I compare him to Adrian Peterson when it comes to great players who drop the ball when it counts. He had some blown saves down the stretch last year in games that were as good as won until Nathan came in to give up some late home runs and rally's that initially cost the Twins the division. But when it comes to great players (Brett Favre) you can never blame them when they do make a crucial mistake because without them the team would have never made it that far in the first place.
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Written by Chad McIntyre