Thursday, February 22, 2007

Wee hours roster projecting

FORT TRAFFICJAMBURG, Fla. -- It's early, but we're sitting here at Pressbox Central wondering whether the Twins will keep 12 pitchers or the extra bench player.

Projection: extra bench player. Reading between the lines of what Gardy said the other day, he'd prefer to have 11 pitchers after carrying the extra arm for most of last season. He was often frustrated with his bench limitations. Then again, the Twins had to carry the extra pitcher because of the eroding situation with the rotation, and those uncertainties could be prevalent again.

Nonetheless, how's this for an Opening Day roster?

LINEUP: 2b Castillo, 3b Punto, C Mauer, RF Cuddyer, 1B Morneau, CF Hunter, LF White, DH Kubel, SS Bartlett

STARTING ROTATON: Santana, Silva, Ponson, Ortiz, Bonser

BULLPEN: Nathan, Rincon, Crain, Reyes, Neshek, Guerrier

BENCH: C Redmond, IF Cirillo, OF Ford, IF Machado or Rodriguez, OF Tyner

If the Twins have to go with the extra pitcher, I'd say Durbin if he's healthy. That probably would make Tyner the odd man out. But I would not be surprised by a preseason trade. Maybe Lew Ford for a backup middle infielder?

Something to prove

FORT TRAFFICJAMBURG, Fla. -- Justin Morneau isn't satisfied after the MVP season.

“If anything, I’d say I probably worked a little harder this offseason," Morneau said. "I’ve got something to prove this year. Some people (fans) didn’t believe it was right. People are sitting there waiting to say last year was a fluke. I’m going to go out and prove them wrong again.”

Morneau seems hungry. He was one of the earliest non-Fort Misery resident position players to show up at camp. A big weightlifting guy, Morneau said he worked harder on core training. Like last spring, he's been out working one-on-one with hitting coach Joe Vavra in the cages at 7:30 every morning.