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Souhan blog: Twins bullpen is a mess

  • Blog Post by: Jim Souhan
  • March 13, 2013 - 9:37 PM

The Twins have three relievers set to be in their bullpen this season: Closer Glen Perkins, setup man Jared Burton and lefty Brian Duensing.

Perkins and Burton are quite good. Duensing is at least a valuable lefty-on-lefty pitcher, and could be more if he can find a way to neutralize righthanded batters.

There are four jobs open, and there are no sure things among the other Twins' relievers in camp.

What else do the Twins have right now? Josh Roenicke got crushed by a mediocre Orioles lineup in the ninth on Wednesday night at Hammond Stadium, and he might still be a lock because he has a track record and is out of options. Tim Wood is also out of options, which might give him a leg up, and Ryan Pressly is a Rule 5 draftee.

Alex Burnett has been unimpressive this spring but may not have to do much to win a spot. Anthony Swarzak injured himself during horseplay at TwinsFest and is likely to start the season on the disabled list. Casey Fien was expected to be a lock but has struggled.

Pedro Hernandez is a lefty who could make the team because of others' failures. Tyler Roberson is another possibility.

The Twins' lineup figures to be productive if the health of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau is an indication. The rotation should be at least somewhat better than it was a year ago with the additions of Mike Pelfrey and Vance Worley and the expectation that Kyle Gibson will contribute at some point this season. But the bullpen is a mess.

Roenicke figures to survive his meltdown. The staff likes him. And Fien pitched 1 1/3 innings without a blemish on Wednesday.

The team may be dependent on Alex Burnett becoming the pitcher they always thought he should be.

-Brian Dozier had a remarkable game at second base, making plays all over the field and especially ranging to his right.

-Kyle Gibson pitched two innings in relief. Indications are he'll be sent to the minors so he can begin slowly building up his arm strength to prepare him for starting later this season. While the Twins were open to the idea of him starting the season with the big league club, that would have happened only if he had been lights out this spring.

At this point, they'll probably ease him into duty and hope he can come up mid-summer and be at his best.

 

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