Another day, another catcher.
Mitch Garver gets the call today as the Twins wrap up their series against the Fighting Gardenhires. Jason Castro started yesterday's game against Detroit, showing off his pitch-framing prowess during a 4-3 wind. Now Garver, who has worked on his defense during the offseason and spring training, gets his turn.
(and I don't mean to imply that Garver has become a Gold Glove catcher, but he's working hard on that aspect of his game)
The last time we saw Garver, he was hitting home runs against the Mets. He hit two off of Jacob deGrom on Tuesday and followed that with another home run on Wednesday. He's batting .474 with three home runs and 5 RBI in the young season. Garver definitely has some pop in his bat, and it would be foolish to give up on him. The Twins have an interesting situation with their three-headed catching monster.
Jason Castro is not an offensive player but his savvy behind the plate and with the pitching staff makes him valuable. Willians Astudillo amazes at the plate with his hand-eye coordination and appears to be serviceable behind the plate. Astudillo's ability to play some third, first and even the outfield helps get him in the lineup - although he's not in there today.
"We have three very, very capable, even more than capable catchers to choose from on any given day," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "There's will be times where we run guys out back-to-back games, there will be times where guys might not play for a few days. We communicate with our guys as best we can. We try to talk to them, explain to them what's going on.
"Everyone wants to play. I want our guys to want to play, so I'm perfectly OK with that. But I think Mitch has been doing a really nice job. Hes been catching very very well,swinging the bat well. He's earned all the time he has been getting."
The Tigers are flying in second baseman Ronny Rodriguez to start at second base today after Jordy Mercer pulled his right quad while running the bases. He wasn't at the park as of 10:30 a.m., but they expected him to be here in time to start.
Baldelli is looking forward to seeing Martin Perez finally get a start. Perez will take the ball on Monday when he faces the Blue Jays, after posting a 7.56 ERA in three relief outings. It's been hard to evaluate him because the goal of his outings has been to stay stretched out. The Twins did win two of their three games in which Perez piggybacked after the starter.
The Twins will not have a pitch count in mind for Perez.
"I don’t know if touch and go is the right word," Baldelli said, "but it’ll be a feel thing I think going into this next outing and seeing where he’s at and truthfully we’ll watch and see where he’s throwing the ball and if he’s throwing the ball well and he looks strong and we have reason to believe that everything is fine and he’s feeling great, I’m sure we’ll have a little bit longer leash. I don’t have expectations as far as pitches or innings or anything like that. I thought he’s thrown the ball well so far this year."
Class AA lefthander Devin Smeltzer, who pitched 14 scoreless innings, and infielder Travis Blankenhorn, who hit .333 with a home run for Class A Fort Myers, were named Twins minor league pitcher and player of the week.
Jeimer Candelario, 3B
Miguel Cabrera, DH
Christin Stewart, LF
John Hicks, 1B
Grayson Greimer, C
Dustin Peterson, RF
Ronny Rodriguez, 2B
Gordon Beckham, SS
JaCoby Jones, CF
Jordan Zimmerman, RHP
Max Kepler, RF
Jorge Polanco, SS
Nelson Cruz, DH
Eddie Rosario, LF
C.J. Cron, 1B
Marwin Gonzalez, 3B
Mitch Garver, C
Jonathan Schoop, 2B
Byron Buxton, CF
Jose Berrios, RHP