Carlos Silva

Carlos Silva

Kathy Willens, Associated Press

Twins: Silva at vortex of final roster decisions

  • Article by: La Velle E. Neal III
  • Star Tribune
  • March 26, 2007 - 10:29 PM

FORT MYERS, FLA. - If someone was trying to win a job down here they've run out of time. The Twins are expected to make several moves today and settle most spots on their 25-man roster.

"We are close," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We pretty much know what we are going to do. We aren't going to announce it right now, but pretty much know."

The Twins' 5-3 loss to Baltimore might have solidified their thoughts.

Righthander Sidney Ponson pitched like a front-of-the-rotation mainstay, tossing six shutout innings on five hits and three strikeouts. Four of the five rotation sports should be locks: Ponson and righthanders Ramon Ortiz and Boof Bonser, plus lefthander Johan Santana.

What could be up for debate in the Twins' meeting room is what to with righthander Carlos Silva and his 11.02 ERA. Will the club give Silva more time to find himself or will they go with righthander Matt Garza (1.50 ERA)? If Silva loses his job, will he go into the bullpen or would the Twins consider optioning him to Class AAA Rochester? Silva is a veteran player and could reject the assignment and become a free agent. But then the Twins would no longer be responsible for his $4.35 million contract. Rejecting the assignment would be highly unlikely since Silva would not command near that contract figure on the free agent market.

Will the Twins go with 12 pitchers, which would leave room for Silva and Garza? One could start with the other in the wings. Or will the Twins give the 12th spot to lefthander Mike Venafro, who has thrown 10 scoreless innings?

What about righthander J.D. Durbin, who is out of options and would have to clear waivers to be sent to the minors? Durbin has been terrible, posting a 12.38 ERA.

"Options are a factor," Twins GM Terry Ryan said.

The decision to carry 11 or 12 pitchers impacts the bench. Catcher Mike Redmond, infielders Luis Rodriguez and Jeff Cirillo and outfielder Jason Tyner are expected to make the team. Gardenhire has expressed more confidence lately that Rodriguez can occasionally fill in at short, but it's not his best position. An 11-man pitching staff would allow room for one more reserve. So don't rule out the chances of the Twins scrounging around for a backup shortstop before Opening Day.

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