Thursday, March 01, 2007

Garza and the Fifth Spot

As much as I'd love to post on the last night's first game of Spring Training, a 4-4 tie with the Red Sox, there is little we can draw from one game. All I can say is that it's nice to see Joe Mauer smack a home run and Scott Baker just seems to keep going down the wrong path. The more interesting story comes with Matt Garza.

Garza pitched two scoreless innings yesterday and struck out David Ortiz on a nasty breaking pitch, perhaps backing up some statements he made earlier this week. In a Pioneer Press story, Garza was quoted as saying, "It's my job, and I'm not going to give it back... I have no — no — doubt in my mind that I'm staying here."

Apparently, Garza sees the job not only as his, but he sees Sidney Ponson's recent visa issues as an opportunity to grab the spot. As Garza says, "It's a shot for me ... and I'm going to take it and run with it just like I did last year. I'm going to get a spot. I'm going to give them one of the toughest decisions they've ever had to make in their life." So, does Garza have a chance?

Well, as most Twins fans have heard, Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire aren't exactly happy with Ponson's situation. For a guy who is supposed to be very excited for a second shot, he isn't trying hard by failing to get a visa and having an occasional "glass of wine" when he has a record of alcohol-related issues. If Ponson isn't serious about getting the job, Garza sure is.

Gardenhire says that, "Whether he sticks with us or not (out of camp), that's going to be determined on the field." It would seem that Garza has at least a good shot at getting the job and that's probably good news for the Twins.

The combination of Ponson and Ramon Ortiz was never exactly an exciting prospect for the Twins 2007 season. And if Ponson doesn't care to take his opportunity seriously, there is no reason Garza shouldn't get the shot. He's talented, motivated, and apparently ready to go.