Game 3: Twins handed first Grapefruit League loss
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Ricky Nolasco tossed two scoreless innings in his Twins debut, and Oswaldo Arcia homered, but Anthony Swarzak gave up three runs in a 6-3 loss to the Rays on Sunday at Charlotte Sports Park.
The Twins (2-1) also saw a long home run from non-roster invitee Brandon Waring off the Tiki bar in left-center field but were done in by a two-run homer from Evan Longoria and a solo shot from Jerry Sands.
What went right: Nolasco was mostly solid in his debut, and pounded the strike zone with 16 of his 22 pitches going for strikes. He did give up two hard-hit doubles but was able to get of both innings without any damage.
Arcia also launched a solo shot in the fifth inning off left-hander Adam Liberatore after he was buzzed by two inside fastballs from Liberatore. It was an interesting at-bat for Arcia, who clearly won that battle after being brushed off the plate twice.
Waring also showed off impressive power with his mammoth blast off Santiago Garrido. Waring hit 25 homers between Double-A and Triple-A last year but also hit just .214 with a .317 on-base percentage.
Second base prospect Jorge Polanco came through with an RBI single in the ninth inning to score fellow top prospect Max Kepler.
What went wrong: Swarzak struggled in the third inning, giving up three runs on three hits with all three runs coming with two outs.
David DeJesus brought home the first run on a single to right field that allowed Desmond Jennings to score on a throwing error from Arcia in right field. Longoria then followed up with a two-run homer to left field off Swarzak.
Left-hander Brooks Raley fared well for two innings but did serve up a solo shot to Sands in the sixth.
Top pitching prospect Alex Meyer hit as high as 98 mph on the radar gun but only mixed in two curveballs and one changeup in his two innings of work so he wasn’t fooling Rays hitters. Meyer, ranked as the No. 28 overall prospect by MLB.com, ended up giving up two runs (one earned) on four hits with a strikeout. His second run was keyed by an inning-opening error from Waring at third base.
The Twins also went just 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position, leaving seven runners on base.
What they said: “He killed that ball. He hit that ball a long ways. He hit it right to the Tiki Hut. That’s where I wanted to be all day.” — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire on Waring’s home run.
What’s next: The Twins have split-squad action for the first time this spring on Monday, as they host the Blue Jays at Hammond Stadium and travel to Sarasota to play the Orioles. Right-hander Kevin Correia will make the start against Toronto, and will be followed by right-hander Kyle Gibson and left-handers Brian Duensing and Caleb Thielbar. Right-hander Vance Worley will start vs. Baltimore, and will be followed by right-hander Trevor May and left-hander Sean Gilmartin.
Injury update: The Twins still haven’t set a date for Tommy John surgery for top prospect Miguel Sano but it’s likely to be performed by Dr. David Altchek, according to Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony. Antony also didn’t rule out Sano serving as a DH late in the year or playing in the Arizona Fall League or Dominican Winter League. … Shortstop Pedro Florimon, who had his appendix taken out on Feb. 17, could start baseball activities this week, Antony said. Florimon, though, could still start the season on the 15-day disabled list.