MLB Spring Training: Travis Demeritte states his case

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 02: Travis Demeritte #50 of the Detroit Tigers prepares for his first Major League at bat in the top of the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on August 02, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - AUGUST 02: Travis Demeritte #50 of the Detroit Tigers prepares for his first Major League at bat in the top of the first inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington on August 02, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

MLB Spring Training Recap: March 2

Loser: Pittsburgh Pirates offense

On Sunday, the Pittsburgh offense broke out of a spring-long slump with a 13-run, 15-hit attack that made us all wonder whether the Pirates had found their batting eyes.

The answer came during Monday’s meeting with the Toronto Blue Jays. In a word: nope.

Matt Shoemaker and five relievers did what pitchers everywhere have been doing most of the spring; they gave the Pirates virtually nothing. In the 4-0 Toronto win, Pittsburgh batters collected just three hits, all singles.

The Pirates are now hitting .221 as a team for a spring in which they have won just two of 10 starts.

Loser: Cam Bedrosian, Los Angeles Angels pitcher

Another day, another dent to Joe Maddon’s bullpen plans. On Sunday, non-roster pitcher Neil Ramirez gave up eight earned runs in one-third of an inning against the Chicago White Sox. On Monday, facing the Cubs, the Angels were nursing a 2-1 lead through five and one-half innings when Maddon summoned Cam Bedrosian in to start the bottom of the sixth.

In short order, Bedrosian jeopardized that lead, walking the first two hitters he faced and surrendering a Javier Baez single that loaded the bases. The next Cub hitter, Kyle Schwarber, sent a fly ball over the head of the center fielder Brennon Lund for a bases-clearing double.

When Victor Caratini doubled one out later to score pinch-runner Trent Giambrone, Bedrosian’s mound tenure was finished. In one-third of an inning, he had allowed three hits, two walks, and five runs, all of them earned.

Winner and non-roster player of the day: Abraham Almonte, San Diego Padres outfielder

Almonte is a journeyman non-roster invitee who is making waves in Padres camp. Against the Cincinnati Reds Saturday, Almonte sent the game’s second pitch into left field for a triple, singled again in the second, and delivered the third single in a four-run Padre fifth inning.

Monday facing White Sox veteran Dallas Keuchel, Almonte was back at it. He opened the game with a ground-rule double, eventually scoring the game’s first run. He singled again off Keuchel in the third, but this time was erased in a double play. He also walked.

Almonte is carrying a .500 batting average and a 1.42 OPS. He’s not yet considered likely to make the major league roster, but he’s giving the Padres something serious to think about.

Loser: Minnesota Twins offense

Last year Twins hitters set an all-time record for home runs. Through eight games this spring, they’re performing like an entirely different cast.

The batting slump continued during Monday’s 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Cardinals. Presenting a lineup larded with reserves and minor leaguers, the twins managed just four base hits in a 6-1 defeat.

This is how bad Minnesota’s offense has been so far in the spring.  They rank dead last among the 30 teams in batting average, hitting only .197. They’re also 29th in on-base average.

As befits their reputation, the Twins are tied for fifth overall in long balls. That sounds pretty good until you consider that their 13 home uns represent nearly 20 percent of all their base hits so far this season. Of the Twins five most frequently used hitters so far this MLB spring training, four are batting below .200.