Day 11: Twins hold simulated game, “B” game
FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was a busy day at the Lee County Sports Complex, as the Twins held their first simulated game of the spring this morning before hosting the Red Sox in a “B” game at Hammond Stadium.
In the simulated game, right-handers Jason Marquis and Jeff Gray each pitched, while hitters such as Trevor Plouffe, Chris Parmelee and Alexi Casilla batted with different scenarios laid out for the defense.
It allowed Twins defenders to work on relay throws, positioning and decision-making while also allowing the hitters to face live pitching.
The big scare was Denard Span running into the center-field fence, but he said he was OK. But I’ll definitely check with him tomorrow to make sure he’s still doing OK.
As for the “B” game, the Twins picked up their first victory with a 6-5 win over the Red Sox.
Twins right-handers Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn got through without any issues, and were followed by Jeff Manship, Liam Hendriks, Jason Bulger, Carlos Gutierrez, Tyler Robertson, Brendan Wise and Deolis Guerra. Of the group, only Gutierrez really struggled, allowing two runs on hit and three walks while only recording two outs.
Offensively, the Twins were paced by first baseman Aaron Bates, who hit a two-run homer, and designated hitter Brian Dinkelman, who had two hits and two RBIs. Shortstop Brian Dozier also had two hits, while J.R. Towles and Joe Benson added RBI singles.
But the Twins no longer are playing for the Mayor’s Cup, according to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, now that the Red Sox moved into the new JetBlue Park in Fort Myers. The Cup used to be a battle between the Red Sox, representing the city, and the Twins, representing the county, but they now both play in unincorporated Lee County.
“There is no more Mayor’s Cup,” Gardenhire said. “We took the Cup; we got the Cup. The Cup’s in somebody’s cabin now, in Minnesota.”
– Gardenhire said Carl Pavano will start the Grapefruit League opener against the Rays on Saturday at 12:05 p.m. CT. The Twins also have split-squad action on Sunday with left-hander Francisco Liriano scheduled to start against the Rays in Port Charlotte at 12:05 p.m. CT and right-hander Terry Doyle slated to pitch against the Red Sox at their new park in Fort Myers at 12:35 p.m. CT.
– Gardenhire said he’ll announce his lineups for Saturday’s game tomorrow morning. Morneau, Mauer and Span are all expected to play, but all said they have yet to be notified if they’ll be in the lineup.
– Scott Baker joked about third-base coach Steve Liddle being forced to be the home-plate umpire early in the “B” game: “I thought maybe the umpire was squeezing me a little bit,” Baker said with a grin. “We’ll work through it.”
Here’s video of Plouffe hitting a double against Marquis in today’s simulated game.
And photos from today: