Reading LHP tea leaves

Posted on March 14th, 2007 – 10:50 AM
By Joe Christensen

Scrolling back through my notes from yesterday’s postgame press conference with Ron Gardenhire, I thought it was interesting how he handled a question about Mike Venafro’s success this spring: 6 IP, 0 ER. “He’s probably throwing as good as any of those lefties out there,” Gardenhire said.

Compared to Randy Choate (13.50 ERA) and Carmen Cali (12.27) that wasn’t saying much. But Venafro does seem to be making a case to be the second lefty in the bullpen (to go with Dennys Reyes), if the Twins wind up keeping a second lefty. That, as you know, would require keeping 12 pitchers (when the team prefers to keep 11) and would probably mean not keeping RHP J.D. Durbin, who is out of options. Some tough decisions, indeed.

After complimenting Venafro, Gardenhire went on to say how the team likes the way fellow lefties Jason Miller, Errol Simonitsch and Jose Mijares have looked in camp, as well. Mijares impressed the staff by coming into camp in tremendous shape, and then tragedy struck his family, as his brother was shot in Venezuela. But even he and Simonitsch were re-assigned to minor-league camp yesterday, those are two names to follow. Though the Twins like LHP Ricky Barrett’s arm, he has been a disappointment this spring, posting a 19.29 ERA.

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