Siberian Baseball

Monday, March 12, 2007

Enough already...

Let's get one thing straight - Spring Training games are not accurate predictors of success in the regular season.

Sure, a guy who gets off to a hot start can take that momentum and barrel through April and slumps or nagging injuries that begin in March can mean a slow start, hell, I'll even say that a team that plays poorly in Arizona or Florida will probably stumble out of the gate, but when we have entire fan bases that live and die by the results of split-squad scores it's time to slow down a little bit.

Case in point are the up and down reports regarding Daisuke Matsuzaka and Carlos Zambrano, not to mention Barry Bonds and others when players fail to come out of the gate like a bolt of lightning.

Take a look at comments from the veterans - especially pitchers - who use this time to work on technique and find their rhythm and try to avoid injury - and just realize that a slow start might not be such a big deal.

I can't blame the beat reporters who are trying to scrounge for copy in the Florida sun - wait, yes I can - where a lack of creativity or journalistic chops leave two options for game stories: a.) Player X is playing waaaaay over his head or b.) Player X is in a tailspin and had an awful outing... uh-oh...

I just have to shake my head and try to avoid the column work when a player goes from the second coming of Koufax to a noodle-armed bum in less than a week.

* As a side note, fans outside of the Twin Cities should keep an ear open as the Twins rotation is set in stone. With Francisco Liriano out for the year, the returning starters are Johan Santana and Carlos Silva with younger arms Boof Bonser and Matt Garza all but guaranteed slots in the starting rotation.

Newcomer Ramon Ortiz is the big name among Twins fans here right now and he should round out the Top 5, but Glen Perkins and Sidney Ponson are outside chances to crack the Opening Day roster.

In a blind item from the St. Paul Pioneer Press last week, Ponson will more than likely wash out before the end of Spring Training. I can see him being penciled in until Garza or Bonser finds his legs and then being cut loose in June or July.

Don't forget Jason Bartlett was sent to AAA Rochester for a few months last season before he was given the starting spot, don't be surprised to see it again.

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