Spring Training winners and losers for February 27

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 20: A.J. Puk #21 of the Oakland Athletics poses for a portrait at the Oakland Athletics Spring Training Facility at Hohokam Stadium on February 20, 2020 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images)
MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 20: A.J. Puk #21 of the Oakland Athletics poses for a portrait at the Oakland Athletics Spring Training Facility at Hohokam Stadium on February 20, 2020 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

Winner: Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles first baseman

Is it too much to hope for a Davis comeback in 2020? Through 2022, the Orioles have $69 million worth of guaranteed reasons to live in that hope.

In Baltimore’s 13-0 rout of the Pirates, Davis ramped up a solid first-week performance. His two hits included a home run to left-center and a base hit, running his early spring batting average to .800.

Granted, he did it against a Pirate team that is only nominally playing major league ball. Still any suggestion of a Davis return to form after four straight seasons of godawful performance would be looked on in Baltimore as the equivalent of found money. Which, considering his salary, is precisely what it would be.

Winner: Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, Tampa Bay Rays outfielder

Tsutsogo is a 28-year-old free agent signee from Japan to whom the Rays gave $12 million over two seasons. The question, as it often is with Japanese League free agent signings: Is he the next Ichiro Suzuki or the next Kosuke Fukudome?

In the DH slot against Detroit Thursday, Tsutsogo tilted the needle at least a bit toward Ichiro. He singled home a run in the first, then doubled another run home in the fifth. Tsutsogo is now 4-for-7. His hits helped the Rays to a 6-3 victory.

Winner: Logan Forsythe, Philadelphia Phillies infield

Non-roster invitees need love, too. Forsythe, a veteran who signed a non-roster deal with the Phils this winter, is being carried as the team’s fourth option at third base and first base. Unless you think the Phillies are going to carry four third basemen this summer, that’s not much of an endorsement.

It does, however, mean there’s a chance … and on Thursday Forsythe ran with it. Playing second base, Forsythe grounded a second inning single, added a walk and then doubled to lead off the sixth. In his first seven spring plate appearances, he has four hits, including a double and a home run.

Winner: A.J. Puk, Oakland Athletics pitcher

Puk made his second spring start Thursday and picked right up where he left off last Saturday. Getting the start in Oakland’s 5-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies, he retired the side in the first inning on two strikeouts. In the second, Puk did allow a ground single, but again held the Rockies scoreless.

A candidate for one of Oakland’s rotation spots, Puk’s ERA will sit on a 0.00 ERA in anticipation of his third start next week.

Winner: Tony Gonsolin, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher

The touted Dodger rookie became the first Cactus League pitcher to go 2-0. Facing Cleveland, he retired six of the seven batters he faced, three of them on strikeouts.

In his three innings of work to date, Gonsolin has a .100 batting average against and a 0.30 WHIP. Even within the highly competitive ranks of Dodgers pitchers, that’s making a statement.