The Minnesota Twins entered camp with a number of position battles and the dust has settled all across the board after first year manager Paul Molitor has declared winners this morning.
The most talked about position battle this spring was the fight for the fifth and final spot in the team’s starting rotation. 28-year-old Tommy Milone entered camp as the favorite and has officially come out the winner, which has frustrated first runner up Mike Pelfrey, who will begin the season in a long reliever role out of the bullpen.
It’s clear to see that Pelfrey was not outpitched. Milone posted a 4.50 ERA over 14 innings this spring. Pelfrey posted a much more impressive 1.32 ERA over 13.2 innings and he only allowed two walks, compared to the four allowed by Milone this spring.
It is possible that the Twins still need to see more out of Pelfrey, who is just 5-16 in two seasons with Minnesota. Over the same stretch of time, Milone is 18-13 with a much more impressive ERA.
The Twins also announced a number of other lineup decisions this morning, including Danny Santana as the team’s opening day shortstop and the platoon of Jordan Schafer and Shane Robinson to start the season in centerfield.
Like Milone, Santana entered camp as the favorite to win his respective position battle and saw fierce competition from the man behind him. Eduardo Escobar batted an impressive .302 this spring and led the Twins with 13 runs batted in but Santana still stepped up and won the job. He hit .341 this spring and tore up the base-paths with nine steals.
The centerfield job was decided today when Aaron Hicks was optioned to AAA Rochester. The two center fielders left on the roster are Schafer and Robinson and Molitor says he will use both men.