Some quick observations after the Twins out-slugged the Phillies 11-7:
Luke Hughes bashed a three run homer today, and suddenly it becomes impossible to ignore his utter domination of Spring Training. He was the Twins’ homer king last spring, with six, and today’s blast was his fifth this year. Combine last spring and this spring, and Hughes has hit .300 with 11 homers and 33 RBI in 113 Grapefruit League at bats. At that pace, he’d hit well over 50 homers in a 550 at bat season. Not bad for a guy who has just 8 homers in 224 career regular season plate appearances. A lot of players are a little rusty at first, but they warm up as the season goes on. Hughes seems to be just the opposite. Let’s chalk that up to his Southern Hemisphere origins (Hughes hails from Perth, Australia). While all the other players are waking up after a long winter hibernation, Hughes is getting ready for the Fall Classic. If he stays on the roster, we should see a World Series-caliber performance from him in April.
There’s no way anyone can disprove that theory, so let’s go with it.
Justin Morneau hit a homer today, too, and that is good news. He seems to be taking a liking to the DH role – or at least his bat is.
Francisco Liriano finally had a rough outing today. He gave up eight hits in four plus innings, and Brian Duensing had to bail him out in the fifth. But Puckett’s Pond is choosing not to be alarmed about this; after all, Liriano was facing the Phillies, and the Phillies know how to hit. With eight hits in just four innings, it’s actually remarkable that Liriano only allowed two runs. So if he has a good bounceback next game, there’s no need to be concerned.
Another person who does not need to be concerned: Anthony Swarzak. According to the Pioneer Press, Swarzak has earned a spot on the 25 man roster, and he will start the season with the Twins. Whether he will be a starter or a reliever is not yet set in stone, because it depends on the availability of Scott Baker. Given the fact that Baker is behind schedule, though, it seems smart to believe that Swarzak will get at least a start or two in early April. That’s probably good news for Jared Burton, Jeff Gray, and all the other pitchers who are still fighting for bullpen slots.