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