Spring Training Day Three
The Wings lost 5-4 to Pawtucket Monday afternoon at the Red Sox brand new spring training facility in Fort Myers.
Speedster Darrin Mastroianni doubled and tripled in his first two times up and scored a pair of runs each time being knocked in by Tsuyoshi Nishioka—once on a ground out and the other time on a single. Wilkin Ramirez tripled home the Wings other two runs.
RHP P.J. Walter—a former St. Louis Cardinal—started for the Wings and allowed three runs in four innings. Two of the runs came on a HR from Daniel Nava. RHP Sam Deduno, who like Walters figures to be in the Wings starting rotation, suffered the loss allowing two runs in three innings. Deduno’s stuff seems very lively, but he struggled a bit with his command today.
The Wings lost the game, but Minor League spring training games can sometimes be a little weird. For example, a couple of innings ended before there were three outs because the Pawtucket pitcher had thrown too many pitches. Also, Red Sox star Kevin Youkilis stayed back in Fort Myers instead of traveling with Boston to Clearwater. He batted second in each of the first five innings for the Paw Sox and promptly banged out three hits. In fact, Youkilis was going back and forth between the Double A and Triple A game. He probably wound up with 9-10 plate appearances today!
-New Wings hitting coach Tom Brunansky is excited to be coming to Rochester this year. ”I’m looking forward to being up in that area,” says Brunansky. ”Most of my playing career was spent on the west coast and last year with New Britain I got to see parts of New York state I had never seen outside (New York City). It was beautiful and I’m looking forward to seeing more of it.” He also is a big golfer who can’t wait to take a shot at Oak Hill Country Club.
As for his hitting philosophy “Bruno” says he tries to keep it simple for his hitters and doesn’t want them thinking too much at the plate. He preaches “good balance with good extension and follow through on the swing and then good balance again.”
Brunansky also touts former Red Wings star Merv Rettenmund as one of the hitting coaches during his career who had a very positive impact on his development.
-Outfielder Joe Benson is having a very good spring training for Minnesota but is still likely to be headed to Rochester to be the Wings centerfielder. I enjoyed hearing Benson telling former Wings trainer and current Twins trainer Dave Pruemer his amazing story about getting robbed at gunpoint in Venezuela this winter. I have a feeling, if Benson is in Rochester, this is a story he will telling the local media about constantly.
-The Twins reassigned Australian born righty Brendan Wise to minor league camp today. Wise has pitched in the big leagues with Detroit, and had a pretty decent spring from what I have heard. He should be in the Wings bullpen. The Twins still have 38 players left in Major League camp so they still have a ton of decisions to make concerning their roster. That obviously will impact the Wings roster too.
-With 38 players still left in Major League camp, it is still almost impossible to predict what the Wings roster is going to look like on Opening Day. There still are a TON of question marks. In fact–right now—I would say about the only thing I know FOR SURE is that Tsuyoshi Nishioka will open up the season playing second base almost all the time. So much hinges on whether guys like Chris Parmalee, Brian Dozier, Sean Burroughs and Joe Benson make the Twins. Also, the Wings catching situation is up in the air until the Twins decide what they will do behind the plate. Do they use Ryan Doumit as Joe Mauer’s sole backup? If they keep a third catcher, will it be Drew Butera, Rene Rivera or J.R Towles? I certainly don’t envy Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire when it comes to trying to figure out that 25 man roster.
-Still a lot of uncertainty with the pitching staff too. It sounds like Scott Diamond, P.J. Walter and Sam Deduno are pretty much locks for the starting rotation right now. Liam Hendriks will obviously be there too if he doesn’t make the Twins. Still much to be determined.
-Talked to Pawtucket pitching coach Rich Sauveur today and he has had both Luis Perdomo and Sam Deduno in winter ball in the past. Both are likely headed to the Wings pitching staff, and Sauveur is a big fan of both guys. He says Deduno has a “great curveball.” Sauveur, by the way, is one of the last lefthanded knuckleballers.
-Did you hear the A’s are going to use former Wing Grant Balfour as their closer?
-One of our favorite spots in Fort Myers is Mona Lisa Italian Restaurant. The walls are adorned with autographed pictures of professional athletes who have Italian ancestry. We spotted a photo of Rochester’s Mr. Baseball Joe Altobelli as well as Carmen Basilio. I’m sure there is a Johnny Antonelli somewhere too. Nick Sciarratta, the oldest member of the Wings front office, would love this place.
-This Marlins home run display is ridiculous.
It’s back to Rochester for us tomorrow. Make sure you check out the cable listings for our upcoming Red Wings Insider on Time Warner Cable SportsNet that will feature a bunch of interviews we shot from Fort Myers. All of our spring training coverage has been presented by MINI of Rochester-opening June 1 on West Henrietta Road near Bailey Road.
The Mini has become the most popular British car ever made, with more than 5.3
million units sold. I believe it too. I’ve seen them ALL OVER here in Fort Myers.
Check out the Wings Facebook page for some photos from today in the Fort!
Remember…the season starts April 5 in Syracuse with the home opener April 7 vs. Buffalo. It’s almost here, and I have a feeling this is going to be some kind of season at Frontier Field!