Game 12: Hicks, Colabello homer but it’s not enough
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Aaron Hicks and Chris Colabello both homered but Kevin Correia and Vance Worley each gave up four runs in an 8-4 loss to the Pirates on Wednesday afternoon at Hammond Stadium.
Hicks, who had been dealing with a sore right shoulder, made an immediate impact, as he homered in his first at-bat since March 4 with a pinch-hit solo blast off lefty Adam Wilk in the fifth inning.
What went right: Hicks couldn’t have scripted a better return to action, as the homer also came on his first swing on a 1-0 fastball from Wilk.
Hicks, who hit the homer from the right side, also laced a line drive to first base in his next at-bat while batting left-handed but it was caught by Chris McGuiness.
Colabello also continued his hot start to Spring Training with a two-run shot off right-hander Jake Brigham. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire commented after the game that Colabello, who is hitting .467 this spring, has been the club’s best hitter in Grapefruit League play.
Joe Mauer also went 2-for-2 with a walk, while Trevor Plouffe went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Josmil Pinto also went 1-for-2 with a walk and is now batting .444 this spring.
Right-hander Deolis Guerra turned in a third straight scoreless appearance, and struck out one. Gardenhire said he’s been impressed by Guerra’s changeup this spring, as it’s been getting a lot of swings and misses.
What went wrong: Correia had his first rough start of the spring, giving up four runs on seven hits over three innings.
He gave up a two-run blast to his former teammate Pedro Alvarez but said after the game that he wouldn’t have given a fastball to Alvarez with a runner on second and two outs during the regular season.
Worley also pitched better than his line indicated, as he gave up four runs on three hits and two walks over 3 2/3 innings.
He was also done in by a two-run blast — this one from Travis Ishikawa — but said it came on a changeup, which is his fourth-best pitch and one he was trying to work on during Wednesday’s outing. Gardenhire actually liked what he saw from Worley, who was otherwise effective and kept the ball down with a fastball that was hitting 93 mph.
Alex Presley and Josh Willingham both continued their slow starts to the spring, as they both went 0-for-2. Presley is now hitting .190, while Willingham is batting .067. Jason Bartlett also went 0-for-3 and doesn’t have a hit in 17 at-bats this spring.
What they said: “It felt good to be able to make solid contact after being out for a while. It felt good to get a good pitch to hit. Everything feels good.” — Hicks on homering in his first at-bat since March 4.
What’s next: Right-hander Phil Hughes is slated to make his third Grapefruit League appearance on Thursday against the Red Sox in a 12:05 p.m. CT start at Hammond Stadium. Hughes, who signed a three-year, $24 million deal with the Twins this offseason, has a 1.59 ERA this spring. Right-hander Samuel Deduno is also scheduled to pitch for the Twins.
Injury update: Shortstop Pedro Florimon, who had his appendix removed on Feb. 19, is getting closer to returning to game action. He could play in Minor League games as early as this weekend, according to assistant general manager Rob Antony.