Pitching: RHP Sergio Mitre (3-3, 6.79 ERA in 2009)
Pitching: RHP Scott Baker (15-9, 4.36 ERA in 2009)
TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., No TV
WEATHER: Lovely. Clear skies, Not much wind. Right now, the flags are hanging limp.
UMPIRES: HP Tim Tschida, 1B Brian O’Nora, 2B Fieldin Culbreth, 3B Marvin Hudson
ON THE LINE: It’s still early but two of the five fifth starter candidates – the “20 percenters,” as Joe Girardi called them – are taking the mound. Sergio Mitre and Chad Gaudin will try to put themselves into the mix for the last spot in the rotation.
SPLIT DECISION: This actually a split-squad affair for the Twins though, as you can see from the lineup, most of the regulars opted to stay home. The rest of the Twins (including Orlando Hudson and Justin Morneau) are in Bradenton to face the Pirates.
ALSO ON THE MOUND: After Mitre and Gaudin, Wilkins Aria, Kei Igawa, D.J. Mitchell, Ryan Pope and Kevin Whelan are slated to work today.
UPDATE, 12:23 p.m.: Good buddy Mark Feinsand and I managed to navigate the (seemingly) 8,000 miles from Tampa to Fort Myers safely, and Hammond Stadium is starting to fill up. As expected, Andy Pettitte survived his simulated game in Tampa and feels good. He faced Randy Winn and Colin Curtis, who crushed one pitch that one-hopped off the wall but was called an out by Dave Eiland. Either way, Pettitte threw 36 pitches on a back field in his first “game” since Game 6 of the World Series.
“I told them, ‘I can’t even get the big-league field? What’s going on here?” Pettitte said. “I got a backstop over there, I got a lawnmower over here, but what’s amazing is I seriously feel like I can put myself in a game, whether it’s against these guys or not, so I guess that’s good. Mentally, I feel like I’m seeing my pitches. Especially, at my age, I’m happy at 9 o’clock in the morning to be able to get it going, I was up at 5:30 trying to get ready for this.”
UPDATE, 1:08 p.m.: And we’re off at picturesque Hammond Stadium. There is still a long line of cars trying to get into the parking lot and I saw a guy walking along the edge of the road leading into the stadium with a sign saying “I need tickets.” Not all that unusual, except for the fact that it was professionally printed and laminated, as opposed to scrawled on a piece of paper. Nice to see the professional scalping business embracing technology.
UPDATE, 1:14 p.m.: Couple of sharp singles for Tex and Cano put two on with two outs but Marcus Thames whiffs to end the inning. Mitre to the mound now.
UPDATE, 1:20 p.m.: Just doing reading and came across a “30-seconds with Goose Gossage” piece in the Times. The Goose pulls no punches and has some harsh comments on (among others) Mark McGwire and Francisco Rodriguez. “K-Rod is a clown,” he said. Well, OK. Read the whole thing here.
UPDATE, 1:45 p.m.: You want more bunts from Brett Gardner? You got it. Gardner just dragged a nice bunt down the first base line and beat the flip to the bag by half a step. It’s 0-0 in the third.
UPDATE, 1:48 p.m.: Apparently Gardner’s legs can be used for evil, as well as good. He was just picked off first by Baker when he left too early, but got bailed out when shortstop Matt Tolbert dropped the ball while lunging to tag him in the rundown.
UPDATE, 1:52 p.m.: And the Yanks can’t take advantage of the break – Teixeira hit into a double play and Cano grounded out to end the inning.
UPDATE, 2:09 p.m.: Who would win in a race between Jose Molina and Mike Rivera? Call it a pick ’em. Rivera was just thrown out on a grounder to third in which Nick Punto looked to about three different bases (and double-clutched twice) before throwing him out by a couple steps at first.
UPDATE, 2:12 p.m.: Nice job by Mitre, who allowed two hits in three scoreless innings. Gaudin is on now.
UPDATE, 2:20 p.m.: Brock Peterson – who sounds like a football player – just took Gaudin over the left-field fence. 1-0 Twins.
UPDATE, 2:21 p.m.: Not a great sequence for Gaudin. First he gets taken out by a guy who should be playing linebacker then he drops a throw from Teixeira and is charged with an error.
UPDATE, 2:46 p.m.: Single for Cano and he’s replaced by pinch-runner Kevin Russo. Clubhouse should be opening shortly so I’m heading down. Back with more later.
UPDATE, 3:48 p.m.: So it seems this one got a little out of hand. We got back upstairs just in time to see someone named Juan Portes crush a home run off D.J. Mitchell that made it 11-0. In the old days, George Steinbrenner would be demanding the Yankees run wind-sprints on the bus ride back to Tampa.