Game 1: Twins drop Grapefruit League opener
SARASOTA, Fla. — Josh Willingham hit a two-run homer but Tyler Robertson gave up a two-run homer to Trayvon Robinson to hand the Twins a 5-3 loss to the Orioles in the Grapefruit League opener for both teams at Ed Smith Stadium.
Right-hander Kevin Correia also made his Twins debut, allowing one run on two hits and a walk over two innings.
What went right: It was only the first game but Willingham picked right up where he left off last year when he hit 35 homers en route to winning the Silver Slugger Award. He went 2-for-2, including a two-run blast off Tommy Hunter in the third inning.
Eduardo Escobar, who is known more for his defense, looked good at the plate by going 2-for-3 while Darin Mastroianni doubled to lead off the third before scoring on Willingham’s homer.
Clete Thomas knocked in a run in the sixth on an infield single to score prospect Eddie Rosario, who led off the frame with a single off T.J. McFarland. Thomas ended up going 2-for-2.
Correia fared well, as both he hits he gave up weren’t hit hard. He gave up a double to Matt Wieters on a ball that looped down the line and an infield single to Chris Davis.
Relievers Ryan Pressly and Tim Wood looked sharp, as they both threw scoreless innings. Both guys have big arms and will be worth watching this spring, as Pressly is a Rule 5 pick from the Red Sox while Wood is out of Minor League options.
What went wrong: Robertson gave up a two-run blast to Robinson after walking Russ Canzler to open the inning. He was falling behind in the count early but settled down after the homer.
Fellow reliever Josh Roenicke gave up a run on two hits and a walk in his one inning of work. He’s also worth watching this spring, as he’s out of Minor League options as well. He put up a shiny 3.25 ERA in 88 2/3 innings with the Rockies last season, which is impressive considering their home park, but his peripheral stats weren’t as good. He struck out 54 and walked 43 with a 1.44 WHIP.
Reliever Shairon Martis, who is in camp because he’s pitching for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, gave up a run on three hits over two innings.
Rosario had a chance to get two runners out at home plate on a relay play in the fifth but dropped his hands and looked before throwing home, so the Twins were able to only get one out at the plate.
What they said: “We actually put some nice swings on the ball. Some atom balls, which is a good thing. The pitchers did a nice job. But Robby did the Cardinal Sin, walking the first guy. So it stopped the game and they ended up hitting a home run off him after he fell behind. But it was just the first time out so we’ll get better,” — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
What’s next: The Twins are set to host the Hammond Stadium opener against the Rays on Sunday with right-hander Liam Hendriks on the mound. Catcher Joe Mauer and first baseman Justin Morneau, who didn’t make the trip to Sarasota on Saturday, are also expected to make their Grapefruit League debuts. The Twins are also scheduled to host an intasquad game Sunday morning that will feature several younger players and prospects such as Alex Meyer, Trevor May, B.J. Hermsen and Jose Berrios.
Injury update: Third baseman Trevor Plouffe (strained right calf) could play in tomorrow’s intrasquad game. He’s been cleared by Twins doctors, as they told Gardenhire he has no limitations. … Outfield prospect Oswaldo Arcia pulled his intercostal muscle yesterday and the Twins aren’t sure when he’ll return. But the injury is expected to be minor.