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La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Hughes on the mound, but no other Twins starters present vs. Astros

    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The Twins had a three-hour bus ride to the Atlantic Coast today. They have a ride nearly as long up the Gulf Coast tomorrow. After a home game Friday, they’ll travel to Sarasota and Bradenton on Saturday and Monday.

    All of which explains the unusual lineup, and entire roster, that the Twins will field today. Eduardo Escobar and Danny Santana are the only players in the lineup who have played for the Twins in the past, non-roster catcher Chris Gimenez bats cleanup, and Phil Hughes makes his fifth start of the spring. But also in the Twins’ lineup are players like Matt Hague and Tommy Field, and the reserves feature a lot of unfamiliar names to fans of the big-league team: Alan Busenitz, Jose Gonzalez, Ryan Walker and Edgar Corcino.

    “It’s not ideal,” manager Paul Molitor said of the roster mostly devoid of major league regulars. “We’re trying to make good decisions despite the fact that the schedule has not been very favorable. wWe’ve had a ton of long trips, and so I’ve had to look at that a little more. I generally try to say, ‘don’t let bus trips prevent you from making the [right] decision about who needs to play,’ but you’re certainly aware of the toll that that takes. I’m trying to find ways to get some people ready without having to make them travel a lot.”

    But there are worse things than watching minor leaguers play, right? Trevor May would certainly love to be here today, rather than in an operating room in Texas, where he will undergo ligament-replacement surgery on his pitching elbow. The Tommy John procedure will cost him the 2017 season.

    The Astros are using nearly all of their regulars, including former Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel, who has pitched seven scoreless innings this spring. Here are the lineups for the noon game, which will be broadcast by Go96.3:

TWINS

 

Stubbs CF

Gonzalez 3B

Hague 1B

Gimenez C

Escobar SS

Field LF

Santana RF

Shuck CF

Adrianza 2B

 

Hughes RHP, then Tonkin, Wimmers and three minor-leaguers.

 

ASTROS

 

Springer CF

Reddick RF

Altuve 2B

McCann C

Gurriel 1B

Gattis DH

Gonzalez LF

Davis 3B

Brignac SS

 

Keuchel LHP

Veteran pitcher Vogelsong ask for - and receives - release from Twins

After meeting with the club this morning, righthander Ryan Vogelsong has asked for, and has received, his release from the Twins.

The Twins had hoped that Vogelsong's experience would help a pitching staff with several young arms. But he posted a 7.27 ERA in five appearances. He was given a chance to make two starts over the last week, but gave up five earned runs over that period.

Despite being a hit with teammates, his production wasn't good enough to be the clubhouse savant.

"We talked with Ryan this morning," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It was one of those hard conversations to have. After the discussion and different things we talked about, we gave him some time to think about it. He's asked for his release and we are going to grant that. 

"Can't say enough about what he brought to the camp. Had multiple players come in here and say being around him and Belisle and some of these people have really made their camp."

Some with the club felt Vogelsong could best serve the team as a long reliever. After coming out of the bullpen three times this spring, Vogelsong preferred starting. Indications are that might have been where the sides did not share the same vision. Arm strength - Vogelsong was touching 89 mph on the gun here - was also a concern.

With Vogelsong gone, the Twins now have Tyler Duffey, Adalberto Mejia, Nick Tepesch, Justin Haley and Jose Berrios in camp who could land in the No. 5 starter's role. Berrios has been with Team Puerto Rico at the World Baseball Classic, which hasn't helped his cause. Mejia has pitched well but gave up back-to-back home runs on Monday. Duffey fired five shutout innings on Monday. Tepesch will start Thursday in Vogelsong's place and be followed by Haley,  a Rule 5 pick.

"We felt that right now we had a few people who were in front of him, in terms of that rotation situation," Molitor said. "Out of fairness to him we gave him time to see what else is out there, other clubs, opportunities, those type of things." 

The Twins also reassigned righthanders Jake Reed and Raul Fernandez to the minor league camp.

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