MLB Spring Training: Cole vs. Cabrera – the $66M question

LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a photo during the Tigers' photo day on February 20, 2020 at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a photo during the Tigers' photo day on February 20, 2020 at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

MLB Spring Training Recap: March 5

Winner: Nelson Cruz, Minnesota Twins designated hitter

With a .210 team batting average, the Twins have spent most of this spring wondering when their offense will show up. On Thursday, Cruz delivered a big portion of it.

In a 5-5 tie with the Baltimore Orioles, Cruz produced three of his team’s 10 hits, raising his spring average to .500. Among Twins with at least 15 spring plate appearances, only Cruz and reserve outfielder candidate LaMonte Wade are batting above .294.

Cruz’s hits included a first-inning home run that was followed by third and fifth inning singles.

Loser: Jorge Soler, Kansas City Royals outfielder

The defending American League home run leader remains locked in a spring-long batting slump.

Thursday against the Colorado Rockies, Jorge Soler got three hacks and came up empty with two strikeouts. For the spring, he has just two hits – both home runs – in 18 at-bats. The home runs are offset by nine strikeouts.

For the record, Colorado beat the Royals 5-1.

Losers: The left side of the Philadelphia infield

Third base prospect Alec Bohm and veteran shortstop Didi Gregorius have had diametrically opposite springs. While Bohm, a AA player ranked the team’s No. 1 prospect, has opened eyes with a .444 spring average, Gregorius is laboring through a hitless spring that is now 18 fruitless at-bats long.

During Philadelphia’s 5-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays, however, the two were on equal footing: They both delivered fruitless at-bats.

Didi’s 0-for-3 afternoon included a double-play ground ball with two runners on base in the first, a routine flyout in the fourth and a fifth-inning ground out with another runner in scoring position.

Bohm, meanwhile, found that the game isn’t as easy as he has been making it look. He did single in the second. But Bohm grounded out with a runner in scoring position in the fourth and his fifth-inning ground ball killed another inning with the bases full and two out.

Winner: Derek Holland, Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher

The Pirates desperately need some stable pitching, and they hope Derek Holland might be part of the answer.

Against the Rays Thursday, he gave reason for that hope. Holland delivered four solid innings and allowed just one hit, a home run.

It was the best of his three Cactus League appearances, games in which he has allowed three runs and a collective .200 batting average against him.

Because the Pirate offense continued to look as anemic as it has been all spring, they still lost 2-1, Pittsburgh’s 11 defeat in 13 spring decisions. But at least Holland looked good.