Weber finds himself battling for starting job

With his fourth offensive coordinator since coming to the University of Minnesota, soon-to-be senior quarterback Adam Weber has always been kept busy picking up a new offense.

But this time, Weber finds himself battling for a starting job.

MarQueis Gray, who saw some time last season in option plays, is one of the other QBs in competition against Weber.

No doubt it’s been tough for Weber to get acclimated to any offense. But it’s hard to ignore the statistical regression at the QB position last season.

Finally, on an unrelated note, I saw the Seattle Mariners had some new commercials. Here’s one with Ken Griffey Jr. pulling a prank on Ichiro:

 

Let’s turn back the clock a little bit:

Are Slama, Jones playing their ways onto Twins?

A familiar face and a new face might be playing their ways onto the Minnesota Twins’ Opening Day roster.

In Wednesday’s 4-1 spring training victory against the Florida Marlins, Twins outfielder Jacque Jones had a pair of hits – including a homer – to push his spring average to .360.

Meanwhile, reliever Anthony Slama picked up the save and continues to be unhittable. Literally. In five appearances, he’s not allowed a hit, striking out nine in five innings of work. I don’t care what kind of competition you’re facing. That’s an impressive five outings.

Slama has a decent chance of making the Twins’ Opening Day roster. At 26 years old, Slama has done everything he can in the minor leagues. In 140 career outings, he has an ERA of 1.87 with 271 strikeouts in 183 2/3 innings, plus 54 saves the last two years.

With the struggles of Clay Condrey, Brian Duensing and Glen Perkins this spring, Slama should have a real shot of the making the team when camp breaks. And I hope he does. Fans have been dying to see what he can do against big league hitters.

The path to an Opening Day roster is a little tougher for Jones. Most members of the media believe the final position player spot is a battle between Matt Tolbert and Alexi Casilla, and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has said that he’s getting comfortable with Michael Cuddyer as a back-up center fielder when Denard Span needs a day off.

I think the Twins would be better served having someone a little more versatile as a back-up to Span, maybe waiting out spring cuts to see if someone gets let go. But I can understand why Jones is facing an uphill climb, considering he hasn’t played in the big leagues in two years, and the last time he did play didn’t go that well.

But I’m rooting for Jones. I appreciate what the guys – Doug Mientkiewicz, A.J. Pierzynski, Torii Hunter, Brad Radke, etc. – in the early part of the last decade did to drag the franchise out of the dumps. Hopefully, Jones finds his way onto the big league team sometime this year.

On the radio today

After a short hiatus due to the flood, I will be returning to "Sports Talk" from 1-2 p.m. today on 970-AM WDAY radio.

Joining me in studio are WDAY’s Scott Miller and The Forum’s Kerry Collins.

We’ll touch base again with Fargo Force head coach Steve Johnson as the regular season winds down in the United States Hockey League. Also, we’ll discuss the NFL’s changes to the overtime rule, and who knows, maybe we’ll get to some Twins baseball, too. There was a good amount of feedback on last night’s closer post, so I appreciate that.

One move today that could affect the closer situation: The Twins signed southpaw reliever Ron Mahay to a minor league deal. Obviously, Mahay won’t be the closer, but maybe the Twins would be more willing to put Jose Mijares in the closer’s spot if Mahay’s available to get lefties out in the seventh or eighth innings and Francisco Liriano is in the rotation.

As far as my opinion that the Twins should trade for Heath Bell, I agree that the closer’s job is significantly overrated and overpaid. But I also think you can never have enough good relievers. Even if the Twins acquire Bell and someone like Liriano or Anthony Slama steps up in the bullpen, then that makes that unit all the more stronger. There are two weeks left until Opening Day, so there’s still time to work something out internally or through a trade. I would like to see Slama get a real chance at a big league job. He’s getting old by minor leaguer standards.

Anyway, if you want to take part in the show, call (701) 293-9000 or (800) 279-9329 or e-mail talk@wday.com.