2/24/2014 4:19 P.M. ET
After long trip, Raley set to seize opportunity
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Brooks Raley was all settled in and ready for Spring Training to start with the Cubs in Mesa, Ariz.
He'd made the 16-hour drive from his home in College Station, Texas, and had been working out for a week at the Cubs' Spring Training complex, when he was called into the office on Feb. 12. It was there that the left-hander was told that he had been claimed off waivers by the Twins and would need to head to Florida to report on Feb. 16.
So Raley drove back to Texas and made it in time for the start of Spring Training with his new club, and he is excited about the fresh start.
"I feel like it's a good opportunity for me," Raley said. "It's a change of scenery, so I think it's for the best."
Raley, 25, made nine relief appearances with the Cubs last year, posting a 5.14 ERA with 14 strikeouts and eight walks in 14 innings. He was mostly used as a starting pitcher at Triple-A Iowa, making 25 starts and two relief appearances and posting a 4.46 ERA with 95 strikeouts and 45 walks in 141 1/3 innings.
He threw his second live bullpen session on Monday, and he mixed all of his pitches -- his two-seamer, four-seamer, changeup, slider and curveball. He said he still hasn't been told whether he'll be stretched out to start or work out of the bullpen, but is OK with either outcome.
"I feel like it's way too early for that," Raley said. "I just want to put myself in the best situation when they give me the ball and get outs. I've been a starter my whole career, but last year I had some success out of the bullpen. So I have no problem with either. I don't mind being a starter, I don't mind being a long reliever, and I don't mind being a left-handed specialist. Whatever they need."
Gardy unsure of how home-plate rule will be applied
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire came away mostly satisfied with what he heard about baseball's expanded replay during a meeting with MLB in Port Charlotte on Sunday, but still has questions about the new home-plate collision rule that was formally approved on Monday.
Gardenhire, along with Baltimore's Buck Showalter, Boston's John Farrell, Tampa Bay's Joe Maddon and Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle, met with MLB executive vice president of baseball operations Joe Torre, special consultant Tony La Russa and Jim Leyland to discuss the upcoming rule changes this season.
Gardenhire believes that the experimental rule which is aimed to prohibit the most egregious home-plate collisions will be difficult for umpires, who will have to determine whether a catcher blocked the plate improperly.
"We need more information on it," Gardenhire said. "I need pictures. I need to see plays they're talking about -- what they want our catchers to do, what we want our baserunners to do. We need video of it to give to our players, instead of saying, 'This is what we're going to do,' and make a call on it. We need to see some plays. There's plenty of plays they can look up. Show us what's good and what's bad and where a catcher should be standing."
Gardenhire also maintains that the rule could lead to unintended consequences, such as injuries to baserunners. A player will be ruled out if he lowers his shoulders and pushes through the catcher with his hands, elbows or arms, but the catcher cannot block the pathway of the runner unless he has possession of the ball.
"There's going to be times when a guy comes in there with no place to go and slides and he gets hurt, and then you're going to have issues, because he can't protect himself as a runner trying to score and a catcher whacks him," Gardenhire said. "I'm more worried about my runners going in there than my catchers. They're going to have to change what they do to score, which is scary, because that's how you get hurt."
But Gardenhire seemed on board with baseball's new replay system, which will expand instant replay, but won't extend to balls and strikes. Managers will get one challenge per game, and if the call is reversed, they retain their challenge. Umpires can also request review on close plays from the seventh inning on. The reviews will be made at MLB Advanced Media headquarters in New York by a rotating umpire crew.
"There's technology out there that will help the game," Gardenhire said. "There's some tweaking needed, but this is a start. It's all about trying to make it better.
Gilmartin adjusting well after arriving in Doumit deal
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It was just like any other flight for Sean Gilmartin, who was flying home for Christmas on Dec. 18.
But when he landed, he checked his phone, saw an unusual number of messages and knew something was up. Sure enough, it was then that Gilmartin found out that he had been traded from the Braves to the Twins for Ryan Doumit.
"I was pretty much the last person to know about it," Gilmartin said. "As soon as I landed, I turned my phone back on and figured it out from there. So I was the last one to know, which was kind of weird. But it was good."
Gilmartin, 23, was a first-round Draft pick in 2011 out of Florida State who had early success in the Minors, but struggled last year, posting a 5.74 ERA with 65 strikeouts and 33 walks in 91 innings at Triple-A Gwinnett.
The left-hander has a career 4.23 ERA with 223 strikeouts and 74 walks in 285 1/3 innings and is expected to open the season at Triple-A Rochester.
Gilmartin, who threw his first live bullpen session on Sunday, said he's adjusted well to Twins camp. He also said it added confidence knowing that the Twins acquired him for an established veteran such as Doumit.
"I think any time a team trades for you straight up like that, it gives you a good indication what they're thinking of you as a young player," Gilmartin said.