Most people who read either of the local newspapers have probably noticed this. Carlos Silva gets knocked around by the Twins' Double-A affiliate and Gardy is "encouraged" by the movement on his pitches. Then Kevin Slowey has his first rough outing of the spring and is promptly bumped down to the minors. In general, I rarely see the Twins' manager going out of his way to emphasize the positives when a younger guy gets roughed up, but he almost always does so for guys like Silva and Sidney Ponson.
For instance, after seeing youngster Glen Perkins struggle in a start against the Red Sox on Tuesday, Gardy had the following quote in a Star Trib recap:
"He never really found a good rhythm, and it's all about being to make an adjustment," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You see that with younger pitchers. Veterans know how to step off the mound a little bit better than some of the young guys, take a deep breath and make an adjustment."Or, in other words, it's too bad Perkins isn't a veteran and couldn't "make an adjustment." You know, kind of like the adjustments Silva has been making this spring en route to a 7.62 ERA and 5-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Or the adjustments Ponson has made while giving up 17 hits and seven earned runs in 10 innings. Hogwash.
And then there's Boof Bonser. Gardenhire has been pretty much unwilling to come out and openly announce Bonser as a lock for the rotation, despite the fact that he was a crucial component in the team's stretch run last year and he's been outstanding this spring, holding a 2.25 ERA and 12/0 strikeout-to-walk ratio up until hitting a slight bump in the road yesterday. Even now, it sounds like Bonser will be the fifth starter, which could mean he will have a few starts skipped early in the season in order to keep the rest of the rotation on schedule when the team has days off. Meanwhile, Silva, Ponson and Ramon Ortiz have pretty much been written into the rotation all along, despite terrible numbers last season and (with the exception of Ortiz) uninspiring performances this spring.
To me, Gardenhire's philosophy makes little sense. If anything, shouldn't the younger pitchers be the ones getting babied in the media? I have to imagine that their confidence is a little more fragile than veterans who have been in the major leagues for several years.
This trend seems to provide further evidence of an ongoing bias in the Twins' organization against rookies, one that has been around since Tom Kelly was the manager. It is particularly frustrating because the Twins are a team that needs to rely on rookies to step up and produce if they want to win. That fact became blatantly clear last season, and I have little doubt that this season will be the same way.