The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Baseball Blog

March 28, 2009

Keeping (down with) Jones

One week left in spring training. Time to make decisions.

And so they do. The Twins worked out a trade Saturday with the new York Yankees that allows them to option out Jason Jones, the right-handed pitcher Minnesota took in the Rule Five draft.

Jones will go to Rochester to pitch in the Red Wings rotation. The pitcher the Twins gave up, Charles Nolte, is a 23-year-old who pitched (well) in low A ball last season. He had a good K rate in the Midwest League but had control issues too. Not exactly the Twins strike-throwing mold.

So it's a minor deal. It does clear out a bit of the roster chaff.

The Twins will keep either six or seven relievers. five are obvious: Joe Nathan, Craig Breslow, Jesse Crain, Luis Ayala and Matt Guerrier. That leaves Phil Humber (out of options), Jose Mijares (the most talented but also struggling to harness that talent right now), R.A. Dickey (knuckleballer on a minor league contract) and BrIan Duensing (lefty who has been a starter in the minors) striving for one or two slots.

My guess is that the Twins will keep seven relief pitchers, and Humber will be one of them. Dickey will go to the minors, as was the plan when the Twins signed him. Mijares will get the job IF he throws strikes this week. Otherwise, Duensing's the man.

e-mail Edward Thoma

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