March 2013

Game 23: Correia struggles in loss to Marlins

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Kevin Correia struggled in his fifth Grapefruit League outing in a rain-shortened 6-2 loss to the Marlins that was called after just five innings on Monday at Hammond Stadium.

With the loss, the Twins fell below .500 at 11-12 this spring. They have Tuesday off but return to action Wednesday night against the Rays.

What went right: Brian Dozier hit his first homer of the spring on a two-run blast off Marlins right-hander Nathan Eovaldi in the first inning.

Catcher Joe Mauer returned to action after playing in the World Baseball Classic and went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles.

Pedro Florimon made another nice play at shortstop, bare-handing a grounder to make the play at first. He’s looked solid there all spring.

What went wrong: Correia ran into trouble in the second inning, as the first six batters he faced that frame reached base.

He was able to settle down after the rocky start to the inning — retiring eight of the last nine batters he faced — but also served up a solo homer to Chris Valaika in the fifth. But he now has a 6.46 ERA in Grapefruit League play.

Right-hander Tim Wood gave up one of the longest homers of the spring on a solo shot by Marlins prospect Christian Yelich that ended up in the pond about 100 feet beyond the right-field fence.

What they said: “You start to press a little bit for it but I have two more before I start the season. But you just want to have one nice one before you get out there so you feel good about yourself. But overall, I feel pretty good about how my arm, my body and my stuff are right now.” — Correia on looking to make a good start before the regular season begins.

What’s next: The Twins have a scheduled day off on Tuesday before returning to action on Wednesday. Right-hander Mike Pelfrey is scheduled to start for the Twins against the Rays in a 7:05 p.m. ET start at Hammond Stadium. Left-hander Matt Moore is scheduled to start for Tampa Bay.

Injury update: Third baseman Trevor Plouffe (strained right calf) is expected to play in a Minor League game on Wednesday. He’ll serve as designated hitter. … Left-hander Scott Diamond (elbow) made his first start of the spring in a Minor League game. He threw two scoreless innings with three strikeouts against Triple-A Pawtucket.

Game 22: Twins pitchers struggle in loss to Orioles

SARASOTA, Fla. — Right-hander Vance Worley gave up three runs over four innings and the bullpen didn’t fare much better in a 7-1 loss to the Orioles on Sunday at Ed Smith Stadium.

With the loss, the Twins fell to 11-11 in Grapefruit League play. They host the Marlins on Monday in a day game at Hammond Stadium.

What went right: Not much, as the Twins didn’t score until there was two outs in the ninth and didn’t pitch particularly well either.

Jamey Carroll and Wilkin Ramirez combined for four of Minnesota’s six hits. Chris Parmelee, who also drew a walk, had an opposite-field single.

Brandon Boggs hit an opposite-field homer in the ninth inning off right-hander Jair Jurrgens. It was the third homer for the spring for Boggs.

Shortstop Pedro Florimon made a couple of nice plays in the field, including a diving snare of a line drive and a running catch in right-center to catch a blooper. But he also made an error on a routine play and also tried to call off Worley on a pop-up that Worley ended up catching on the mound.

What went wrong: Worley gave up three runs on six hits and two walks over four innings and has a 6.00 ERA in Grapefruit League play.

But Worley wasn’t really hit hard, as two runs scored on a soft grounders with the bases loaded in the second. The one ball that was hit hard was a solo shot from former Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy in fourth inning.

Reliever Casey Fien gave up two runs on a two-run blast to Matt Wieters in the fifth inning. He’s competing for a spot in the bullpen but has a 6.14 ERA this spring.

Right-hander Jared Burton worked two innings but surrendered a two-run single to former Twin Lew Ford in the sixth.

What they said: “It was kind of a blah game. Their pitchers did a nice job throwing the ball.” — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.

What’s next: Right-hander Kevin Correia is slated to start for the Twins against the Marlins in a 1:05 p.m. ET start at Hammond Stadium. Catcher Joe Mauer also is expected to return to action after participating in the World Baseball Classic with Team USA. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is scheduled to start for Miami.

Injury update: Left-hander Scott Diamond (elbow) is scheduled to throw two innings in a Class A game on Monday. He’s expected to be ready to return in mid-April. … Right-hander Anthony Swarzak (ribs) is likely to start the year on the disabled list. He’s still throwing bullpens. … Third baseman Trevor Plouffe (calf) is tentatively scheduled to make his return on Wednesday.

Game 18: Roenicke can’t hold lead in loss to Orioles

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Infielder James Beresford and Ray Olmedo both homered in the eighth inning but Josh Roenicke blew the save by giving up five runs in the ninth to hand the Twins a 9-4 loss to the Orioles on Wednesday night at Hammond Stadium.

With the loss, the Twins fell to 10-8 in Grapefruit League play. They host the Red Sox in a day game at Hammond Stadium on Thursday.

What went right: In a rare display of power, Beresford and Olmedo both came up with long blasts off Orioles right-hander Todd Redmond.

Beresford, who started it off with a solo shot, has just one career homer in the Minor Leagues and it came in 2010 with Class A Beloit. And Olmedo followed with a two-run blast after Joe Benson, which was also rare considering Olmedo has just two career big league homers in 484 plate appearances.

Right-hander Kevin Correia turned in his best outing of the spring, as he gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits to his improve his ERA to 4.76 in four Grapefruit League starts.

Correia was also helped by a few great plays from the defense, as Chris Parmelee robbed a potential homer in right field with a leaping catch at the wall and Brian Dozier made several slick plays at second base.

Reliever Casey Fien had a nice outing, throwing 1 1/3 perfect innings in relief of Correia.

What went wrong: Roenicke struggled, as he only recorded two outs in the ninth inning and blew the lead by giving up five runs on three hits and two walks.

It wasn’t a good sign for Roenicke, who is battling for a spot in the bullpen after being selected off waivers from the Rockies. Roenicke, who is out of options, now has an 8.22 ERA this spring.

But left-hander Caleb Thielbar didn’t fare much better trying to clean up Roenicke’s mess, as he gave up two hits and a run and threw a wild pitch before getting Chris Robinson to pop out to end the inning.

But it wasn’t just the pitching, as outside of their big eighth inning, the Twins also didn’t do much offensively. They didn’t get a hit until Ryan Doumit singled to lead off the fifth inning.

Center fielder Aaron Hicks has also cooled off a bit, as he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, but is still hitting .342.

What they said: “We ambushed them and then they re-ambushed us. Is that a word? It should be. One of those Yogi-isms” — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.

What’s next: Right-hander Mike Pelfrey is set to make his fourth start of the spring on Thursday against the Red Sox in a 1:05 p.m. ET start at Hammond Stadium. Pelfrey, who had Tommy John surgery on May 1, has a 3.52 ERA this spring. Right-hander Ryan Dempster is scheduled to start for the Red Sox.

Injury update: Right-hander Deolis Guerra (blood clot in right shoulder) was transferred to Tampa General Hospital, where he’ll have his first rib removed in the next few days to help give his artery more room.

Thoughts on WBC plus lineups for Twins/Orioles

FORT MYERS, Fla. — With the Twins having a rare off-day on Tuesday, I decided to head over to Marlins Ballpark in Miami to catch the USA-Puerto Rico game.

I wanted to check out the new stadium and the atmosphere, as I went to the semifinals and finals of the World Baseball Classic in both 2006 and ’09 and had a great time.

The decision to drive two hours across the state didn’t disappoint, as I found myself liking the ballpark much more than I thought I would and the atmosphere was incredible. It definitely didn’t feel like a Spring Training game, as it was incredibly loud with noisemakers going off all over the stadium and lots of passionate Puerto Rico fans.

It was also fun to watch a few of the Twins’ prospects, as both Eddie Rosario and Jose Berrios played for Puerto Rico. I was impressed by Rosario’s double on an 0-2 pitch from David Hernandez and Berrios was throwing 95 mph and wasn’t afraid out there despite the fact he’s only 18.

So when we talked to Justin Morneau today about his time in the World Baseball Classic, it was no surprise that he loved the intense environment the games bring in mid-March.

Morneau was impressive in the Classic, hitting .636 (7-for-11) with three doubles, three RBIs and a walk. But Canada was eliminated with a 9-4 loss to Team USA on Sunday at Chase Field in Phoenix, which caused Morneau to head back to Fort Myers earlier than he had hoped.

“The intensity was good and the adrenaline level was high but there’s still a long time until the regular season starts,” Morneau said. “But it was still a good foundation to build off of to have a few good days of the success at the plate and know my swing is pretty close to where I want it to be. So it’s a good confidence builder and hopefully I can continue it.”

Morneau is back in the lineup batting cleanup and at first base for the Twins tonight against the Orioles. Here are the rest of the lineups with plenty of familiar faces playing for Baltimore:

Orioles (10-4)
1. Alexi Casilla, 2B
2. Ryan Flaherty, SS
3. Manny Machado, 3B
4. Jason Pridie, LF
5. Taylor Teagarden, C
6. Travis Ishikawa, 1B
7. Danny Valencia, DH
8. Chris Dickerson, RF
9. Trayvon Robinson, CF

LHP Brian Matusz

Twins (10-7)
1. Aaron Hicks, CF
2. Brian Dozier, 2B
3. Josh Willingham, LF
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Ryan Doumit, C
6. Chris Parmelee, RF
7. Oswaldo Arcia, DH
8. Eduardo Escobar, 3B
9. Pedro Florimon SS

RHP Kevin Correia

Game 17: Twins rally late for win over the Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Prosect Oswaldo Arcia had an impressive day at the plate, and Ray Olmedo had the game-winning hit with an RBI triple in the 10th inning to help the Twins to a 6-4 win over the Rays on Monday night at Charlotte Sports Park.

With the win, the Twins improved to 10-7 in Grapefruit League play. They have their first off-day on Tuesday before hosting the Orioles in a night game on Wednesday at Hammond Stadium.

What went right: Arcia, who was playing in just his second game this spring after suffering a pulled intercostal muscle, went 2-for-3 and was hit by a pitch.

He also scored in the first inning on a throwing error by shortstop Yunel Escobar on a ball hit by Joe Benson and again in the fourth on a sacrifice fly from Darin Mastroianni.

Mastroianni also had a good day with a diving catch in left while also going 1-for-1 to raise to his average to .412 before being replaced by Brandon Boggs. First baseman Jeff Clement went 1-for-3 with an RBI single in the first inning off right-hander Roberto Hernandez.

Joe Benson and Eric Fryer had back-to-back triples to tie the game in the ninth inning before Olmedo had the game-winning RBI triple in the 10th after Clete Thomas doubled.

Left-hander Tyler Robertson threw a scoreless inning in relief with two strikeouts. Fellow lefty Brian Duensing also tossed a perfect inning in relief with a strikeout.

Right-hander P.J. Walters threw two scoreless innings in relief and hasn’t allowed a run in seven Grapefruit League innings. He did walk two but also struck out three.

What went wrong: Right-hander Vance Worley was mostly fine but did give up two runs on five hits, including four extra-base hits, over four innings.

He served up an RBI double to Evan Longoria in the first inning and a solo blast to Luke Scott in the second inning. But he did settle down and showed good velocity with his fastball reaching 94 mph.

Rule 5 pick Ryan Pressly gave up his first run of the spring but also picked up his first two strikeouts in an inning of work. Fellow reliever Luis Perdomo allowed the go-ahead run to score in the eighth inning.

What they said: “I turned back around and I was almost mid-90s. I got to 94 once and I hadn’t seen that in a couple years.” — Worley on his velocity.

What’s next: The Twins have their first off-day of the spring on Tuesday before hosting the Orioles in a 6:05 p.m. CT start at Hammond Stadium on Wednesday. Right-hander Kevin Correia is set to start for the Twins while left-hander Brian Matusz is slated to start for the Orioles. First baseman Justin Morneau is also expected to make his return, as he arrived back in Fort Myers on Monday after participating in the World Baseball Classic.

Injury update: Right fielder Chris Parmelee (right groin tightness) is scheduled to make his return on Wednesday against the Orioles. … Third baseman Trevor Plouffe (strained right calf) had an MRI exam but it came back with favorable results. He’s expected to be out a week. … Left-hander Scott Diamond (elbow) threw his first live bullpen session on Monday and all went well.

Game 16: Hendriks gives up three homers in loss

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Josh Willingham homered and Aaron Hicks had another strong day at the plate but Liam Hendriks served up three homers in a 7-4 loss to the Pirates on Sunday at Hammond Stadium.

The loss dropped the Twins to 9-7 in Grapefruit League play, and they take on the Rays tomorrow in a night game at Charlotte Sports Park.

What went right: Willingham launched a homer that landed over the trees beyond the left-field fence and has had himself a solid spring with a .407 average and two homers.

Hicks also continued his impressive spring by going 1-for-2 with a walk, an RBI and a run scored. He now leads all players with 13 Spring Training RBIs and ranks third in runs scored with 11.

His main competitor in center field, Darin Mastroianni, drew two walks, stole a base and scored. Mastroianni has also fared well this spring but has played in just seven games because of a strained left hamstring.

Second baseman Brian Dozier went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI to raise his batting average to .259. But he also grounded out to shortstop with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning and made an error in the ninth.

Left-hander Pedro Hernandez, acquired in the Francisco Liriano trade last year, threw three scoreless innings. He hasn’t allowed a run in seven Grapefruit League innings.

Relievers Jared Burton and Tim Wood each threw a scoreless inning, which was a good sign considering some of their recent struggles.

What went wrong: Hendriks gave up just three hits but they were all homers, as he served up big flies to Gaby Sanchez, Tony Sanchez and Andrew McCutchen.

He said he simply couldn’t repeat his mechanics and it caused him to fall behind in the count too much, especially in his third and final inning. Hendriks had been pitching well until today, so he’ll need to bounce back in his next outing to keep up in the race for the final spot in the rotation.

Reliever Alex Burnett continued his struggles, as he gave up three runs in the seventh inning on three hits. He also made a fielding error and has a 9.00 ERA this spring, which doesn’t even include the three runs he gave up in an inning against Puerto Rico in an exhibition game.

What they said: “Our starter couldn’t locate a fastball. He couldn’t get the fastball over the plate. He was jumping at the plate. We’ve seen that before. He just has to make that adjustment and slow everything down. He was like a bull. And when the wind is blowing out, that’s what happens.” — Gardenhire on Hendriks.

What’s next: The Twins play their second night game of Spring Training in a 7:05 p.m. ET start against the Rays at Charlotte Sports Park. Right-hander Vance Worley, who was acquired in the Ben Revere trade, is set to start for the Twins. Right-hander Roberto Hernandez is scheduled to take the mound for Tampa Bay.

Injury update: Right fielder Chris Parmelee (tight right groin) took swings in the cage on Sunday and is still on track to make his return on Wednesday. … Third baseman Trevor Plouffe (right calf) aggravated his injury during morning workouts on Sunday and was held out of the lineup. Gardenhire said he could be out a “week-plus.”

Twins make first roster cuts of Spring Training

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins made their first roster cuts of Spring Training this morning, as they reassigned right-handed pitchers Bryan Augenstein, Nick Blackburn, Alex Meyer, Lester Oliveros and Esmerling Vasquez to Minor League camp.

Blackburn, who underwent surgery on his right wrist in January, and Oliveros, who had Tommy John surgery in August, are both currently out with injuries. Blackburn is expected to return in May while Oliveros is likely out until August, but neither pitcher is on the 40-man roster.

Meyer, who was acquired in the trade that sent Denard Span to the Nationals, was the most impressive pitcher of the group before being reassigned. Meyer, ranked as the No. 40 overall prospect by MLB.com, tossed five scoreless innings in Grapefruit League play with three strikeouts and two walks.

Meyer, 23, is expected to start the season at Double-A New Britain after posting a combined 2.86 ERA with 139 strikeouts and 45 walks in 129 innings split between Class A Hagerstown and Class A Advanced Potomac last season.

Vasquez, who had a 5.68 ERA in six starts with the Twins last season, had a 6.75 ERA in 2 2/3 innings in Spring Training. He’s not on the 40-man roster and is expected to start at Triple-A Rochester.

Augenstein, meanwhile, made only one appearance in Spring Training. The non-roster invite, who pitched for Tampa Bay’s Triple-A affiliate last season, gave up a run in one inning against the Pirates on Feb. 25.

Also, here are the lineups for the Pirates and Twins with Oswaldo Arcia set to make his debut after missing the first 15 games with a strained intercostal muscle.

Pirates (4-10)
1. Starling Marte, LF
2. Travis Snider, RF
3. Andrew McCutchen, CF
4. Gaby Sanchez, 1B
5. Brandon Inge, 3B
6. Clint Robinson, DH
7. Ivan DeJesus Jr., 2B
8. Tony Sanchez, C
9. Jordy Mercer, SS

LHP Jonathan Sanchez (Mike Zagurski, Stolmy Pimental, Vic Black, Brooks Brown, Bryan Morris)

Twins (9-6)
1. Aaron Hicks, CF
2. Eduardo Escobar, 3B
3. Josh Willingham, DH
4. Ryan Doumit, C
5. Oswaldo Arcia, RF
6. Darin Mastroianni, LF
7. Jeff Clement, 1B
8. Brian Dozier, 2B
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

RHP Liam Hendriks (Alex Burnett, Jared Burton, Pedro Hernandez, Luis Perdomo, Caleb Thielbar, Tim Wood)

Game 15: De Vries sets tone in win over Pirates

BRADENTON, Fla. — Right-hander Cole De Vries turned in another solid outing and Ray Olmedo provided the go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning to help lead the Twins to a 5-4 win over the Pirates on Saturday at McKechnie Field.

The Twins improved to 9-6 with the win and play the Pirates again tomorrow at Hammond Stadium.

What went right: De Vries was solid again, as he’s yet to give up an earned run this spring.

De Vries, making his fourth Spring Training outing, allowed one unearned run on one hit and a walk over three innings against the Pirates. He’s allowed just two hits and a walk in seven scoreless innings so far in Grapefruit League play.

He’s in the mix for the final spot in the rotation but the Twins only need four starters to open the year with a day off after Opening Day. Left-hander Scott Diamond could open the year on the disabled list, however, as he’s not expected to start his first Grapefruit League game until March 18.

Pitching prospect Alex Meyer, who was acquired in the Denard Span trade, was also impressive. He struck out three in three scoreless innings in his second Grapefruit League appearance. He’s expected to start the year at Double-A New Britain but has really turned heads so far in Spring Training.

Darin Mastroianni, in his first game back since suffering a strained left hamstring on Feb. 28, went 2-for-3 with an RBI single. But he was also picked off at first base in the first inning after leading off the game with a single off right-hander A.J. Burnett.

Eduardo Escobar went 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored. He’s been solid this spring with a .375 average while providing solid defense at second, short and third and has a legitimate shot to make the club as a utility player.

And Ray Olmedo, who is also competing for a utility role despite being a non-roster invite, had another good day at the plate by going 2-for-3 to raise his average to .364.

Clete Thomas brought home a run with an infield RBI single with two outs in the ninth. He’s hitting .318 this spring.

What went wrong: Center fielder Joe Benson had another rough day, as he dropped a fly ball in the first inning that eventually led to a run scoring and went 0-for-3 at the plate while leaving four runners on base.

Benson, who is competing for the center field job with Aaron Hicks and Mastroianni, is hitting just .097 this spring with a team-high 11 strikeouts in 36 plate appearances. But he is tied with Joe Mauer for the team lead in walks with five.

Hicks, though, is in the lead in the center field competition while Mastroianni is firmly in second, as he’s hitting .429 but in only six games.

Right-hander Casey Fien fared fine in two innings in relief of De Vries but did serve up a solo shot to Ivan DeJesus Jr. in the fifth.

Fellow right-hander Anthony Slama couldn’t close the door in the ninth inning, as he gave up a two-run single to Brad Hawpe with two outs after loading the bases. Right-hander Virgil Vasquez, who made the trip despite being in Minor League camp, recorded the final out to pick up the save.

What they said: “I take it as though it’s my spot and my spot to lose. I want to go out there and attack and pitch as well as I can. If they staff is looking at it like it’s not my spot and somebody else’s, I want to make it as hard as I can on them. And if it is my spot, I want to prove that there’s no doubt that I deserve it.” — De Vries.

What’s next: The Twins play the Pirates for a second straight day with right-hander Liam Hendriks set to take the mound in a 1:05 p.m. ET start at Hammond Stadium. Hendriks, who is competing for a spot in the rotation, has a 3.38 ERA in three Grapefruit League appearances. Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez is scheduled to start for Pittsburgh.

Injury update: Right fielder Chris Parmelee (tight right groin) isn’t expected to return until Wednesday. The Twins are being cautious with him. … Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia (strained intercostal) could make his Grapefruit League debut on Sunday if all goes well doing his workout on Saturday. … Right-hander Anthony Swarzak (ribs) is expected to throw his first bullpen late this week.

Game 14: Pelfrey solid again in win over Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Right-hander Mike Pelfrey tossed three scoreless innings to help lead the Twins to a 2-0 win in their first night game of Spring Training against the Red Sox at JetBlue Park.

The Twins improved to 8-6 with the victory and travel to Bradenton on Saturday to face the Pirates.

What went right: Pelfrey set the tone, as he had his second straight scoreless appearance for the Twins.

He struggled a bit in the first inning — he loaded the bases after failing to turn two on a comebacker hit by Johnny Gomes — but settled down after that. He had much better command of his sinker and struck out five.

Relievers Brian Duensing, Josh Roenicke, Michael Tonkin and Tyler Robertson combined to throw six scoreless innings. Duensing was particularly impressive, as he threw two perfect innings. Tonkin has also been turning heads this camp, and struck out two in a scoreless inning.

Aaron Hicks continued his recent tear, as he went 1-for-3 with a double and scored on a single from Brian Dozier in the third inning. You can read more about him here. Ryan Doumit also went 2-for-3 with an RBI single in the third.

What went wrong: Not much. The Twins didn’t allow a run and played good defense throughout.

The only mistake was Pelfrey trying to turn a double play instead of just throwing to first base because the runner was stealing second base. But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said it was also the fault of his infielders, as they should’ve yelled to Pelfrey to throw to first.

Roenicke threw two scoreless innings but did issue two walks. He has a big arm and had a career year with Colorado last season, but needs to work on his control.

What they said: “Pelfrey got his work in. His first inning was a little entertaining. I think he tried to do a little too much with breaking ball and all that. But after that he started trusting his fastball and moved it in and out better the last couple innings. The rest of the guys also threw the ball well.” — Gardenhire.

What’s next: Right-hander Cole De Vries is set to take the mound for the Twins on Saturday against the Pirates in a 1:05 p.m. ET start in Bradenton. De Vries, who is competing for a spot in the rotation, has yet to allow a run in four innings this spring. Right-hander A.J. Burnett is scheduled to start for the Pirates.

Injury update: Right fielder Chris Parmelee (tight right groin) is expected to return to action this weekend. He could be back as early as tomorrow. … Outfielder Darin Mastroianni (sore left hamstring) is expected to return to the lineup against the Pirates tomorrow. … Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia (strained intercostal muscle) is expected to make his Grapefruit League debut this weekend at some point.

Games 12/13: Twins earn split thanks to Hicks’ big day

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins earned a split in split-squad action on Thursday with a 10-6 win over the Phillies in Clearwater and a 12-5 loss to the Red Sox at Hammond Stadium.

Center fielder Aaron Hicks was the star of the day, as he went 4-for-5 with three homers, six RBIs and a stolen base in the win against the Phillies. The Twins are now 7-6 in Grapefruit League play and have their first night game Friday against the Red Sox at JetBlue Park.

What went right: Hicks has had an excellent spring and put together an incredible performance at Bright House Field. All three of his homers came from the right side of the plate with his first homer and his third homer going to right field.

The wind was blowing out to right field but it’s still impressive for him to hit two homers to the opposite field. You can watch all three homers, as the game was televised by Comcast Sports Net Philadelphia.

He’s definitely the heavy favorite now to win the center field job even though he’s yet to even play at Triple-A Rochester. But keep in mind, Opening Day is still more than three weeks away and things can change.

Trevor Plouffe also had a nice day at the plate in Fort Myers, going 2-for-3 and is hitting .417 this spring. Eduardo Escobar is also making a case to make the club as a utility infielder and went 3-for-4 to raise his average to .350.

Right-hander P.J. Walters also fared well in relief against the Red Sox, throwing two scoreless innings. He hasn’t given up a run in five innings so far in Grapefruit League play.

Relievers Ryan Pressly, Pedro Hernandez, Luis Perdomo and Tim Wood combined to throw 6 2/3 scoreless innings against the Phillies. Wood struck out the side and bounced back from his rough outing against the Rays.

What went wrong: Both starting pitchers struggled, as Kevin Correia gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits over 2 1/3 innings against the Red Sox and Kyle Gibson surrendered six runs on eight hits over 2 1/3 innings against the Phillies.

Correia, though, pitched better than his line score indicated, as he wasn’t helped by his own throwing error and a fly ball that was lost in the sun by Joe Benson in center field. It wasn’t a great day for Benson, who went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. Fellow outfielder Brandon Boggs also struck out four times.

Gibson was hit hard in his worst outing of the spring, and now has a 10.50 ERA in three starts. He’s still trying to make the rotation but outings like this aren’t helping his cause.

Reliever Caleb Thielbar was also rocked, as he gave up five runs against the Red Sox, including a two-run double to Dustin Pedroia and a three-run blast to Mike Napoli.

B.J. Hermsen, the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season, continued his struggles this spring, as he allowed three runs (two earned) in one inning and has a 13.50 ERA.

What they said: “I heard. It was awesome. The clubhouse kids keep us in the loop, especially when something like that happens. It’s a positive note. It’s good to hear.” — bench coach Terry Steinbach on Hicks’ big day in Clearwater.

What’s next: Right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who is coming off Tommy John suurgery, is slated to make his fourth Grapefruit League start on Friday night against the Red Sox in a 6:05 p.m. start at JetBlue Park. The game is also set to be televised by FOX Sports North Plus. Right-hander Ryan Dempster is scheduled to start for the Red Sox.

Injury update: Right fielder Chris Parmelee was a late scratch with tightness in his right groin area. The Twins are expected to hold him out a few days for precautionary reasons. … Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia is hoping to get in his first Grapefruit League game on Sunday. He’s been out with a strained intercostal muscle. … Darin Mastroianni (left hamstring) said he’s been cleared by team doctors to return to action but hasn’t heard officially when he’ll get back in the lineup.

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