Tuesday night, Vance Worley’s third start of Spring Training unfortunately went according to plan. Through only 2.2 innings, the Tampa Bay Rays tagged Worley for seven earned runs on 11 hits and two walks. In his two previous outings, both against the Pirates, Worley allowed nine earned runs on 10 hits and three walks, through only five combined innings.
Coming off a disappointing 2013 season, the 2011 NL Rookie of the Year candidate put up a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts last season. All out of minor league options, Worley came into this year’s Spring Training as one of four pitchers competing for the Minnesota Twins’ final starting rotation spot. Having easily the worst 2013 season among the four, Worley was given an opportunity to compete due mainly to his youth and inexperience, but needed to produce some immediate results.
Not only did this pressure fail to get production out of Worley, but may have aided in him regressing even further this spring. So far in the preseason, Worley carries a 13.50 ERA, 2.53 WHIP and a .415 opponent batting average.
Scott Diamond has struggled as well this spring, but Samuel Deduno and Kyle Gibson have both excelled in their early roles. While Deduno remains the front-runner for Minnesota’s last rotation job, Gibson is closing in fast, and Diamond will continue to fight for a roster spot as well.
Worley, however, has all but officially played his way out of contention already. Expect the Twins to designate him for assignment within the next two weeks. His poor play could help him clear waivers and again find himself in Minnesota’s minor league system, but for now Worley has no part in the team’s short or long-term future.