No Silva lining

Twins Spring Training

After a hot streak midway through the schedule, Minnesota has now dropped four of five. This one was ugly, thanks in large part to Pittsburgh's big fourth.

I wasn't able to make it down to the clubhouse after the game, but I will be interested to hear what Ron Gardenhire has to say about Silva. Real concerns there, I'm sure.

Anyway, the Twins are in Clearwater tomorrow for a game with the Phillies. Then they come back here for three straight home games.

Like that homer Eldred hit in the second, I'll see ya.

PITTSBURGH 13, MINNESOTA 7

W: Snell (3-0); L: Silva (0-3).

3B: McCutchen, PIT (1); 2B: Hunter, MIN (4), Cuddyer, MIN (6), Morneau (1).

***

Pittsburgh 10, Minnesota 4

Well, Silva is out. He left with one out in the fourth, after putting up one of the ugliest pitching lines this sping: 11 hits, nine runs, nine earned runs, two strikeouts.

Not good news for the Twins coaching staff, which hoped to see Silva start coming around. He has been struggling throughout the spring.

We'll see how this affects Minnesota's plans for the rotation. After this, it seems that Matt Garza and Glen Perkins could be back in the race for a starting spot.

Perkins, by the way, is the pitcher who replaced Silva. He gave up a two-run homer to Adam LaRoche in the fourth before striking out the next two batters.

***

Pittsburgh 2, Minnesota 1; top of the third

If you live in the LaBelle area, you might want to look out for a baseball headed your way.

Pittsburgh outfielder Brad Eldred leads the Grapefruit League with six home runs, but my guess is that No. 6 traveled farther than two or three of the others combined.

On a 3-2 pitch by Silva in the second, Eldred cranked a two-run shot well over the scoreboard in left-center. That answered an RBI double by Torii Hunter in the first.

***

The Yankees aren't in town, Joe Mauer is injured and Johan Santana is resting, but this could be called one of the more anticipated days of the spring.

That's simply because Carlos Silva, the biggest question mark in camp, will get the ball for his sixth start of the month, hopeful this time he will show the Twins what he hasn't thus far: promise.

Silva will likely be in the rotation to start the season no matter how he performs the rest of the way. He makes good money and is a veteran who's had past success with the club.

Still, he needs to solidify himself. In what has been an encouraging camp for the pitching staff as a whole, Silva has surrendered 12 runs (11 earned) in 13 innings of work.

I'll be back later with a report. For now, here are the lineups:

PITTSBURGH: CF McClouth, SS Kelly, C Paulino, 1B LaRoche, LF Bay, DH Ryan, RF Eldred, 3B Bautista, 2B Castillo; RHP Ian Snell.

MINNESOTA: 2B Castillo, SS Bartlett, CF Hunter, RF Cuddyer, 1B Morneau, LF White, DH Kubel, C Redmond, 3B Williams; RHP Silva.

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