JUPITER, Fla. — Tyler Duffey has already pitched three times this spring, but today is a little different. He’ll be on the mound at the start of the game, instead of relieving Hector Santiago.
Does starting the game, rather than the third or fourth inning make a difference?
“I don’t know,” manager Paul Molitor said. “He’s been mixed in, but now a chance to start a game — I would be looking forward to it if I was in his position.”
That position is: One of as many as a half-dozen candidates for the final spot in the Twins’ rotation. Duffey probably isn’t the favorite to grab that spot when camp is over, and his messy six-run outing in Port Charlotte last week didn’t help. But there are still more than six weeks remaining in spring training, so he’s not being counted out, either.
“I hope he can build off his last outing,” Molitor said, “which was pretty good.”
Duffey pitched two innings against the Nationals on Sunday, and allowed only one hit. He hasn’t walked anyone yet, another good sign.
He’ll have an interesting Twins lineup around him, with roughly half the regulars being assigned to ride the bus across Alligator Alley this morning. And today is notable for one other detail, too: It could be the first professional game featuring both Gordon brothers. Dee Gordon, the Marlins’ all-star second baseman, will lead off for Miami, and his younger brother Nick is in uniform for the Twins, though as an extra player who isn’t currently scheduled to play.
Today’s game is not being televised, but there is plenty to read in today’s paper. I wrote about the unexpected request that Twins infield candidate Bengie Gonzalez acceded to upon being drafted: The right-handed hitter was told to try it left handed. And Ervin Santana made his four-inning start on Thursday look easy, as he often does. And Sid Hartman talked to Brian Dozier about putting the winter’s trade rumors behind him.
Here are the lineups for today’s noon CT game:
den Dekker CF