Tommy gun, you ain't happy 'less you got one

We assorted media hordes had an interesting session with Dave Duncan today, and as always, it yielded some interesting insights. A good bit of it will appear in various stories on the site today — most notably topic No. 1, Josh Kinney, who doesn’t have Dunc all that worried.

But another subject that came up was that of Brad Thompson, whom we didn’t get to ask DD about yesterday. And he’s liked what he’s seen from Thompson. So have I — for my money, Thompson’s three innings on Sunday were the best pitching I’ve yet seen this spring, and nobody was any more impressive than he was in early drills.

The problem for Thompson, of course, is that he’s not one of the five incumbents, for lack of a better term. There are five guys who will have to be beaten out in order not to be in the rotation: Carpenter, Wells, Wainright, Reyes and Looper. Still, we asked Dunc about where Thompson fits in all that, considering how he pitched Sunday — aggressively, efficiently and down in the strike zone — and how he’s pitched all spring.

"I’ve been impressed with Thompson from the day he gotinto camp," Duncan said. "He came into camp in great shape, not only arm-wise but body-wise.
He’s a little thinner, and he’s in real good condition. His arm is in great
shape and he’s throwing the ball well through the practice sessions and in the
game."

So I asked more specifically about Thompson’s place in the competition. And there were a couple of telling things in the response. One, Thompson still has to beat someone out in order to crack the rotation. Two, the other challengers are Ryan Franklin and Randy Keisler. If Chris Narveson and Troy Cate were ever seriously in the starting mix, it doesn’t appear that they are now. Here’s the response:

"We were planning on giving him a strong opportunity in
that role. And I think what it does is you compare him as much with the other
guys that are kind of competing against who I consider the top five candidates.
You’ve got Thompson, you’ve got Franklin and you’ve got Keisler who are all
going to get a look. But if there’s a time in there where you have to say does
Thompson get the innings or does Keisler or Franklin get the innings, those are
the two guys that he would earn his priorities over before the other guys.

"What could potentially happen is that somewhere along the
line we may need a B game and have to schedule one, and we may start the other
guy in the B game and let Thompson start the A game. That would be how it would
happen."

Basically, Thompson is a guy to watch. But he’ll have to keep forcing their hand in order to crack the rotation. First he’ll have to step clearly in front of Franklin and Keisler. Then he’ll have to top somebody in the Fave 5.

-M.

(currently playing on the iPod: Talking Heads, Sand in the Vaseline)

1 Comment

Go Brad Thompson. I’m pulling for ya buddy!! No offense to the other guys.I just want that DVD.

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