Minnesota Twins: Spring Training Game One Hot Takes
Fresh, Hot Takes on Minnesota Twins’ First Spring Training Game
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After one game into Spring Training 2016, three things are clear. Number one, Jorge Polanco will be starting at shortstop when the Twins break camp. Two, new designated hitter Byung-ho Park is NOT ready for big league pitching and needs seasoning in AAA, and thirdly, Michael Tonkin just pitched his way out of the bullpen.
Yes, I’m joking. In today’s 24 hour news/sports cycle, we have to break down every little event help bring the bigger picture into focus. Then, I can say a month from now how prophetic I was when something I just threw against the wall actually sticks. Heck, one, maybe even two of these may end up coming true, but these takes should be regarded as strongly as listening to a homeless man giving draft choice advice to an NFL owner.
All that we know for sure, is that the Twins topped the Boston Red Sox at JetBlue Park on a very sunny, 80 degree Wednesday, to start Spring Training with a W.
We knew coming in that Polanco’s bat was major league ready, and he showed that with two extra base hits, including the team’s first homer of 2016. After Boston starter Henry Owens notched 3 strikeouts in the first inning, Polanco injected some much-needed pop with his double leading off the 2nd. Two more strikeouts, sandwiched around a groundout, ended that threat.
In the 5th inning, he greeted reliever Anthony Varvaro by homering to right center field, scoring Miguel Sano (3 walks) in front of him. He also turned a nice double play in the field, and better yet, ended the day with zero errors. Polanco definitely was the star of the game.
Park batted 3 times. 3 times he struck out, twice swinging, and the last looking. Facing the press for the first time after being lifted for pinch-hitter Adam Brett Walker II in the top of the 7th, Park (through interpreter J.D. Kim) said about his first game (from ESPN 1500), “First game, I gotta admit I was a little nervous, but like you said the first game doesn’t mean nothing too much. Glad I got the first one out of the way.”
Asked about facing major league pitching, Park deferred, “At this point of the year, pitchers are far ahead (his emphasis) of position players.” Park said he’s looking forward to getting better, getting his swings in this Spring. Pretty sure he’ll get plenty of swings in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, Walker reached on an error that scored two runs, and singled to left in the 9th inning. Let the controversy begin!
Next: Minnesota Twins Morning News: Spring Training Day Eleven
That last hot take was actually a little troublesome, considering Park’s assertion on how far ahead the pitchers are at this point in the Spring. Michael Tonkin pitched mop-up in the top of the 9th with the Minnesota Twins leading 7-2. He gave up 3 line drive singles (one for an RBI), a sacrifice fly, one strikeout looking, and induced final hitter Deven Marrero to pop out to catcher John Hicks.
With Tonkin out of options, the Twins are giving him a long look at making the ‘pen. But with some good young arms on the cusp of pitching at Target Field, he could be running out of chances.