Results tagged ‘ Steve Pearce ’

Game 12: Liriano, Burnett struggle in loss

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Left-hander Francisco Liriano allowed four runs over three innings, and the Twins managed just five hits in an 8-2 loss to the split-squad Blue Jays at Hammond Stadium.

The loss dropped the Twins to 6-6 in Grapefruit League play. They travel to Clearwater on Wednesday to face the Phillies and ace Roy Halladay.

What went right: Relievers Kyle Waldrop, Jared Burton and Matt Maloney kept their ERAs at 0.00, as they combined to retire all 10 batters they faced.

Waldrop threw a perfect fourth inning with a strikeout before Burton tossed a 1-2-3 fifth inning with two strikeouts. Maloney struck out Anthony Gose to end the sixth before retiring the side in order in the seventh with two more strikeouts.

The three pitchers have combined to throw 12 1/3 scoreless innings with 15 strikeouts and two walks allowed so far in Grapefruit League action.

It’s still early, but all three have made a strong case to join the bullpen out of camp with their impressive results.

Burton — the only non-roster invite of the three — remains the most likely to make the club given his success as a setup reliever with the Reds before injuries plagued him the last few seasons.

Maloney, who has experience as a starter, is a candidate to be a long reliever. He’s also a left-hander, and even though fellow left-handers Glen Perkins and Brian Duensing are locks to make the roster, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he has no problems having three lefties in the bullpen.

Gardenhire also gave Waldrop his full vote of confidence, saying that he believes that the sinkerballer is Major League ready.

The offense didn’t do much on the afternoon, but Joe Mauer went 2-for-3 with a run scored after being hitless over his previous four games. Luke Hughes also played all nine innings at second base and went 1-for-3. Trevor Plouffe and Steve Pearce picked up RBI singles in the sixth.

What went wrong: Liriano cruised through the first two innings but ran into trouble in the third inning.

He loaded the bases with nobody out, and ended up allowing back-to-back doubles to Travis Snider and Travis d’Arnaud with one out. The one positive was that he didn’t walk a batter and struck out five, but he also plunked Mike McCoy in the third and struggled with his command that inning.

Reliever Alex Burnett continued his struggles, allowing four runs on five hits and a balk while recording just two outs in the sixth inning.

Burnett, who is competing for a spot in the bullpen, hasn’t helped himself much this spring with a 16.80 ERA in 2 2/3 innings. He also struggled in a “B” game against the Pirates on Sunday.

What they said: “It was one of those games where there wasn’t a lot of movement on our side,” Gardenhire said. “We got behind early and played a little bit too much defense with not enough offense.”

What’s next: Right-hander Jason Marquis is set to make his third Grapefruit League start on Wednesday against the Phillies at 12:05 p.m. CT at Bright House Field. Marquis has allowed five runs on six hits over 4 2/3 innings so far this spring. Brian Duensing, Jeff Manship, Esmerling Vasquez, Luis Perdomo, Jeff Gray and Aaron Thompson are also scheduled to pitch for the Twins. Phillies ace Roy Halladay starts for Philadelphia.

Injury update: Center fielder Denard Span missed his second straight game with neck stiffness. But he took batting practice without any issues and is expected to make the trip to Clearwater on Wednesday. … Infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka was held out of the lineup for the second straight day with sprained left pinkie. Nishioka, though, is expected to start at shortstop against the Phillies. … Infielder Steve Pearce left Tuesday’s game with a strained right calf and is day to day.

Day 7: Zumaya’s injury dampens day

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was supposed to be just another day of full workouts at the Lee County Sports Complex, but it all changed after just 13 pitches from right-hander Joel Zumaya.

Zumaya, throwing live batting practice for the first time this spring, felt discomfort in his right elbow and cut his throwing session short.

He’s scheduled to have an MRI tomorrow morning, and we should get the results by tomorrow night or Monday morning, according to Twins general manager Terry Ryan.

The Twins are hopeful he just broke up some scar tissue — similar to what Joe Nathan experienced last year before he came back even stronger after a stint on the DL — but considering his injury history, there’s a reason to be concerned. Worst-case, Zumaya will need Tommy John surgery, which he’s never had done despite his lengthy list of injuries.

Speaking of Tommy John surgery, Twins GM Terry Ryan shared some positive news about prospect Kyle Gibson, who had the surgery done on Sept. 7. Ryan said he expects Gibson to be back in action this summer, which means he’s recovering at a good rate considering most pitchers need about 12 months to come back after the surgery.

“He’ll pitch this summer,” Ryan said. “I think we anticipate him pitching this summer. In fact, I don’t think, I know. It’s not anything different than the schedule.”

Other notes from today:
– The Twins are trying to get Ben Revere to bunt more this year, as he squared up to bunt just 15 times last year in 481 plate appearances, recording four hits and three sacrifices. He’s been working with Jerry White and Rod Carew to improve his technique.

- Former shortstop Trevor Plouffe is working out with the outfielders, as he prepares to become the club’s fourth outfielder. He’ll also get some work in the infield soon, but the Twins are more worried about getting him comfortable as a corner outfielder.

- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he’s impressed by Danny Valencia so far in camp, as he worked hard to improve his fielding. “He’s way better,” Gardenhire said. “He’s bent over, he’s going to the ball low. As he told me, that was an adjustment. That was a big adjustment for him, because he’s so used to standing up and going after a ball and having to go all the way back down to the ground.”

- Ryan praised both catcher J.R. Towles and infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce, as they were both former top prospects with the Astros and Pirates, respectively, before signing Minor League deals with the Twins this offseason. Towles will get a fair shake to battle Butera for the third catcher spot, while Pearce will get a shot as a utility player who could see time at first base, outfield and third base.

- Alexi Casilla is bothered by a sore calf, but has been participating in the workouts with no problems. Luke Hughes, who has a strained right shoulder, still can’t throw yet, but has been fielding grounders all over the infield.

Here’s video of Zumaya throwing to Justin Morneau shortly before his injury.

And here’s photos from today’s workouts, including of Zumaya before his injury:

Day 4 of pitchers and catchers working out

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Two more Twins showed up to camp today, as Josh Willingham and Sean Burroughs made their first appearances at the Lee County Sports Complex.

With Willingham and Burroughs in camp, only first baseman Justin Morneau and outfielder Oswaldo Arcia have yet to show before tomorrow’s official report date. Full workouts officially begin for position players on Friday.

Willingham said he’s excited to start working out with his new teammates, and needs Spring Training to help him adjust from the move from left field to right field.

And Burroughs’ road back to the Majors last year has been well-documented after battling substance abuse the previous few years. Here’s the full story on Burroughs on Twinsbaseball.com.

In other news, Luke Hughes received a positive update, as a second opinion by Dr. Lewis Yocum on an MRI exam taken on Hughes’ strained right shoulder found only inflammation. He had a cortisone shot today, and is expected to rest for a few days before returning to baseball activity next week.

Some other tidbits from today:

- Denard Span got through a second day of working out — taking BP, shagging fly balls and running the bases — without any problems.

- Twins GM Terry Ryan had lots of positive things to say about former Reds right-hander Jared Burton. Burton used to be Cincinnati’s eighth-inning guy before battling through various injuries over the last few seasons. But assistant GM Wayne Krivsky, who originally acquired Burton back when he was GM of the Reds, said that Burton ended last season healthy and productive.

- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire brought up former Pirates prospect Steve Pearce as a guy to watch for this spring. Pearce, who can play first base and outfield, has plenty of raw power and owns a career .835 OPS in Triple-A.

- Gardenhire said he plans on using Ryan Doumit as his primary DH this season with Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau also expected to get occasional starts there.

And here some photos from today:

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