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Notebook: Twins Fall 8-4 to Pirates

The Minnesota Twins returned to Hammond Stadium on Wednesday to play their first game there since Sunday. The Twins lost 8-4 to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Things didn’t go well for Kevin Correia or Vance Worley in the game, but Oswaldo Arcia returned from his food poisoning time off. Aaron Hicks was not in the starting lineup, neither was Chris Colabello, but the two provided some strong offense for the Twins.

Before we begin, a reminder that you should “Like” the Twins Daily Facebook page where well over 100 photos have been uploaded. Also, expect to see some more Twins Daily YouTube video.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]

Here are several notes from the day at Hammond Field:

Kevin Correia was charged with four earned runs on seven hits over three innings. He said he was happy with his control over the first two innings, but he did give up three runs in the third inning. Jaff Decker led off the inning with a double. Correia got the next two batters out. However, Pedro Alvarez acme up and launched a long home run, nearly out of the ballpark in right centerfield.

The two were teammates with the Pirates as recently as 2012 and are good friends. Correia said, “I talked to him (Alvarez) a little before the game. The wind was blowing out to right pretty good. I told him, ‘Gonna try to get one?’ He said, ‘No way.’ Sure enough, he got it.

More important is what Correia said next. “It’s also one of those things. I almost got out of that inning. In a situation with a runner on second and two outs and Pedro Alvarez coming up… In a normal (regular) season situation, he’s not going to get a fastball right there to hit. It’s one of those spring training type deals.”

Correia talked briefly about working with Josmil Pinto in this start. I asked if they had worked together yet this spring. “I haven’t this spring yet. Last year I did at the end of the season. Had a few starts with him. But that was our first outing this year together. (He’s) still young and we haven’t had a lot of work together. We’re really working to get it nailed down by the end of spring, and hopefully we’ll be on the same page come opening day. ”

Deolis Guerra came on for the fourth inning and was again very impressive with a 1-2-3 inning. His changeup is absolutely big league and Ron Gardenhire knows it.

“He’s got a good one. He’s got a good angle going. His velocity is 88-90. He’s got a nice angle over the top. He’s healthy. He’s always had a great changeup. Watched him pitch last year. His changeup is a dominant pitch. He can throw it just about any time. It’s a really tough pitch for him. He’s throwing real good in spring training and let’s see how we go along here.
A guy we thought a lot of when we got him in that trade. He’s had some injuries and hasn’t gone as far as we wanted him to yet, but he’s coming along pretty good. Ball’s coming out of his hand pretty nice. He’s a young kid. A really young kid.”


Vance Worley was charged with four runs on four hits and two walks in 3.2 innings. The numbers don’t look great, but there are some positives. For instance, his first inning produced four ground balls. He missed on a pitch to Travis Ishikawa who hit it onto the batter’s eye for a home run.

Worley said he felt good and had better command of his pitches. He also said that the home run wasn’t off of his best pitch. “Threw three changeups today, one of them was the bomb. Fourth best pitch, but it was working well in the ‘pen. I figured today would be a good day to work on it.”

Worley said that in his previous start, he felt too good in the bullpen. This time, he didn’t. “Today, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t too good in the ‘pen and use all the good stuff.” He said that with a sly smile.

Oswaldo Arcia has not played in over a week due to food poisoning. He was in the Twins starting lineup on Wednesday. He had a rough go of it as he was 0-3 with three strikeouts.

It was a much better return for Aaron Hicks, who also was out for over a week. He was not in the starting lineup again, which caused more consternation. Rob Antony described it as mild inflammation in his elbow, though it only caused pain when he hit. Hicks came into the game in the middle innings to replace Alex Presley. On a 1-0 pitch in that first at bat, Hicks crushed a long home run just to the left of the centerfield batter’s eye.

Asked what his approach was in that first at bat, he said, “Trying to get a good pitch to hit, got one, and it was a good first at bat.”

What was the pitch that he got? “Fastball, little two-seemer inside. Got out front and hit it pretty well.”

Pretty well. Probably 420 feet well!!

Attached Image: Chris Colabello 5.jpg Chris Colabello has been pretty impressive so far this spring. He homered on Wednesday and is now 7-15 with two doubles and the homer.

Gardy has certainly noticed. “All I know is he’s swinging really well right now, putting nice swings on the ball, driving it all over. He’s been our best hitter so far in spring training. I do know that.”

But he isn’t going to say that is solely due to the mechanical adjustments that Colabello worked on in the offseason. Hitting well is nothing new for the first baseman. “You’ve got to remember the guy had a pretty good year last year of hitting. He’s off to a good start which you have to do in spring training.”

Colabello discussed the home run following the game. “Trev(or Plouffe) was on second base, nobody out. Situation like that, still looking to drive the ball, but really making sure that worst case, getting the runner to third. Threw me a breaking ball 0-0, bounced it, so I was kind of dead red. Ran in on me a little bit, so I kind of had to force it that way.”

Regarding his manager saying he’s been the team’s best hitter this spring, Colabello took it in stride. “It’s obviously good. My job here is to come in every day and play hard, try to have good at bats, work to get better every day and let the cards fall where they may.”

He also credits some of his success to being more comfortable. “I’m more comfortable in my environment, and this year obviously I know the guys a little bit and the coaching staff. One day at a time.”

Yes, it’s a bit of a cliché, but when you’ve played independent league ball for as long as he did, it’s like the only way he knows how to think.

Deibinson Romero hit a ground rule double in Wednesday’s game. On Sunday, he hit a triple over the head of Ben Revere in centerfield. He is now 6-14 (.429) on the season with three doubles and a triple.

Gardenhire has noticed. “Debby’s swinging really well. He always seems to come up and get the barrel to the ball. Absolutely. He missed all of camp last year because of visa problems and didn’t get a chance to take a look at him, but he had a pretty decent year at AAA. He wanted to re-sign back with us. We re-signed him. Brought him in to camp, and he’s playing well. Doing very well and getting the barrel to the ball.”

Asked whether his defense is something he would feel comfortable with, Gardy responded, “He catches the ball. If you go by all the scouting reports, which is all I have to go by until I see him, limited range, but he catches the ball he gets to but he caught the ball well, and he moves around OK.”

Eduardo Escobar is certainly the favorite for the utility infield spot. He is a solid defensively player and is out of options. Asked if it is conceivable for the Twins to have two utility infielders, Rob Antony mentioned several variables, including whether they bring 12 or 13 pitchers up for Opening Day. He mentioned that Gardy will determine his 25th roster spot. “It’s all going to depend on how he sees these guys playing. How he plans on using them and everything.”

The second utility infielder would come from a group including Jason Bartlett, James Beresford and Doug Bernier.

How has Gardy seen them play so far this spring. Well, Beresford and Bernier will provide tremendous defense in the infield, and Bartlett is shaking off some rust. Offensively, it’s a different story.

  • Beresford is 2-11 (.182) so far this spring.
  • Bernier is 1-8 (.125)
  • Bartlett went 0-3 on Wednesday and is now 0-17 (.000).

On Thursday, the Twins will host the Boston Red Sox at Hammond Stadium. Phil Hughes is expected to make the start. Sam Deduno is slotted into the bullpen.

I will again be sure to check out the minor league workout in the mornings. The affiliates will again be playing the affiliates of the Boston Red Sox. I will also be tweeting during the game from the Twins Daily twitter account, so follow that.

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