Making the Team: Week 2

In the second week of Making the Team, a twist has altered some of the chances of cracking the Opening Day roster for several players. With Joe Nathan potentially out for the season, there are now seemingly two bullpen spots available rather than just one.

The extra spot could eventually help one of the two starting pitchers who fail to make the rotation, and Pat Neshek may have a better chance now too. Then again, the Twins could always fill the closer role externally, and it’ll be back down to one opening. 
This week no players have been removed, but there is one addition. Two scoreless innings, three strikeouts and an extra bullpen spot have at least made relief pitcher Anthony Slama worth watching.

Player Chance Notes
Wilson Ramos (C) Ramos is doing an extraordinary job at the plate this spring going 3-for-8 thus far with four walks in three games. His defense has seemingly been alright too. The big question is how much of a chance the staff is giving Ramos with his competitor Drew Butera having more experience.  
Drew Butera (C) Experience at Triple-A may give Butera the upper hand, but if the Twins are looking for offense in their backup catcher, Butera doesn’t seem to be the guy. Everybody knows he’s much more geared toward defense, and his early .167 average (with three strikeouts in six at-bats) continues to confirm that.
Danny Valencia (3B) It seems likely that Danny Valencia will make his major league debut at some point during the 2010 season. Nonetheless, it continues to be an uphill battle for the 25-year old to crack the Opening Day roster. He’s 3-for-7 thus far with a homerun, but he’ll need to really stick out in the next three weeks to grab a spot.
Alexi Casilla (IF) Alexi Casilla is just 2-for-10 thus far in four games, but equally poor plate production by his competitor is keeping Casilla in the battle. With no more options it’s either make the team or move to a new organization, so Casilla may currently have the upper hand.
Matt Tolbert (IF) While Casilla is batting just .200 after four games, Matt Tolbert has yet to collect a hit in eight at-bats. It’ll be interesting to see how the Twins handle the situation.
Jacque Jones (OF) Jacque Jones’ chances of making the team seem to be decent, especially with the poor production from both Alexi Casilla and Matt Tolbert. He hasn’t played in the majors since 2008 however, so he still has a lot of impressing to do to make his return to Minneapolis a reality.   

Francisco Liriano (SP) In his first outing of the spring, Liriano pitched two scoreless innings and struck out three hitters. It’ll take more than two innings to convince the organization and fans that the winter reports are accurate, but it seems like the final spot in the rotation may be his to lose.  
Brian Duensing (SP) Duensing struggled in his first trip to the mound, but his chances to make the bullpen may have gone up anyways. If the Twins go with an in-house candidate to take Nathan’s spot, there are now two spots open in the bullpen, and only one lefty is currently a lock. 
Glen Perkins (SP) Glen Perkins’ first spring outing didn’t go quite as planned, and his second was only decent. Out of options, Perkins could eventually be traded if he can’t earn a spot in the rotation or bullpen. He very well could be pitching to show off for other teams. 
Pat Neshek (RP) Two solid outings to begin camp, combined with the Joe Nathan injury, have heightened Neshek’s chances of making the team out of camp. Coming off Tommy John Surgery, Neshek could still begin in extended spring training, but there is another bullpen spot seemingly available if his good performances continue through March. 
Mike Maroth (RP) So far this spring, Mike Maroth has had one less-than-stellar outing, and one scoreless outing. His chance to make the team is very slim, and the veteran lefty is almost certainly headed for Triple-A Rochester where good performances could make him an option if injuries arise. 
Slama (RP)
With closer Joe Nathan most likely out for the season, another bullpen spot is now open. With a solid spring, in which Slama would need to blow the coaching staff away, the young righty may have an opportunity to crack a spot in the bullpen.

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