Gardenhire: Battering not so bad

The Twins manager says Sidney Ponson and Carlos Silva were better than the stat sheet might indicate.

VERO BEACH, FLA. - Twins pitcher Sidney Ponson has been released by three teams since 2005, and even after giving up seven hits over two innings Friday, the veteran said he isn't worried.

"If I do get my walking papers, I just walk," he said. "I mean, it's not the first time. It's part of the business. Nothing against the Twins. They gave me a chance to try to make the team, and I have to do it."

Ponson and Carlos Silva each turned in a disturbing pitching line, combining to give up 15 hits over six innings, as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Twins 8-7.

Somehow, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire still sounded encouraged.

"They were throwing the ball fine," Gardenhire said. "I know the results aren't great, but we saw a lot of ground balls."

Ponson did coax some grounders, but the Dodgers drilled some of his pitches, too. Scouts behind home plate clocked his sinking fastball between 86 and 89 miles per hour. In 2003, when he won 17 games, he often hit 94 mph.

After having surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow in October, Ponson said he is still regaining strength.

"It's my second start of the spring," he said. "I'm not going to beat myself up over it."

Ponson had tossed two scoreless innings in a "B" game against Boston four days earlier.

Silva certainly has more margin for error, as he's under contract for $4.3 million. He gave up five consecutive singles to start the fifth inning, but those hits included grounders that rolled through the infield, a jam shot and a ball that Torii Hunter misjudged.

"The best game I've thrown in a long time was today," Silva said. "The last time [Monday against Tampa Bay], a lot of people said I pitched good because they saw three zeros on the board. I feel great the last time, but today -- I haven't seen those cracked bats ... in a long time."

Ponson will make a $1 million base salary only if he makes the team. But Gardenhire didn't sound the least bit concerned.

"If [Ponson] keeps throwing like that, we're going to be happy with that," he said. "That was pretty good. We'll see if he can do that again, and maybe his results will get better and better as we go."


    Up next:12:05 p.m. today vs. Tampa Bay • Fort Myers, Fla. • 1500-AM

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