Report From The Fort: WBC Warmup
May got off to a rocky start, giving up singles to Ian Kinsler and Adam Jones followed by a two-run double from Nolan Arenado that put him in an early hole. But he settled in impressively, allowing only a ground ball single and a couple of walks the rest of the way while completing 3 2/3 frames, second-most for a Twins starter this spring.
His two strikeouts – one of Giancarlo Stanton with a high heater, the other of Arenado with a nasty curve – were definitely highlights. It’s probably a leap to say he locked up his rotation spot with this performance, but… maybe not.
* Tonight was May’s first time working with catcher Jason Castro, in a game or even a bullpen session. In fact, it was their first real opportunity to interact.
“I introduced myself to him today,” the right-hander said with a chuckle. “I walked up and said hi, I’m Trevor.”
The righty had strong reviews for the new acquisition as a receiver, complimenting the way he sets up and anticipates pitch movement. There is also the more basic advantage of having a sturdy 6-foot-3 specimen crouching behind the plate.
“Huge target. He looks like Joe (Mauer) back there."
* May isn’t alone in his lack of experience working with Castro. Previously, the free agent addition had started behind the plate for Kyle Gibson three times, and Ervin Santana twice, but not for any other projected starters.
"It hasn’t been as distributed as I thought it would be at this point," Molitor acknowledged. "There’s still plenty of time left. We’re going to try to spread that out a little bit if we can."
* Twins lefty Stephen Gonsalves was scheduled to head over to Team USA's side this evening as an extra bullpen arm, but he was scratched due to shoulder weakness, which he initially reported after his outing against the Phillies last Friday.
Molitor said Gonsalves was feeling tenderness on the posterior side of his shoulder, which is notably the same area where a strain caused him to miss time in the Arizona Fall League a few months ago.
"They tested his strength and it was down just a hair," the manager explained, "so we’re just kind of being cautious there."
Molitor didn’t express much concern, and Gonsalves was in good spirits when I spoke to him earlier today in the clubhouse. Still, it’s something to keep an eye on. Here’s what John wrote about the southpaw’s AFL health scare when profiling him as Twins Daily’s No. 2 prospect:
After pitching a career high 140 innings during the regular minor league season, the 22-year-old was send to the Arizona Fall League to get more innings. He suffered a shoulder strain, threw just 8.1 innings, and his velocity was down in the high 80s per Mike Berardino.
* Danny Santana got a chance to play some shortstop, taking over after starter Jorge Polanco came out of the game. He quickly reminded everyone of the good he can do there, ranging into the hole and making a beautiful off-balance one-hop strike to beat Paul Goldschmidt at first. It was, honestly, perhaps a better play than a Twins shortstop made in the entirety of 2016.
Unfortunately, he wasted little time in reminding us of the bad. In the next inning, he pulled first baseman Matt Hague off the bag with a wide throw while turning a routine double play.
Then, in the ninth, he charged in a slow roller and hastily delivered a terrible toss that skipped past first and moved two runners into scoring position with no outs. Reliever Craig Breslow worked around the damage, getting two outs and then inducing a fly ball to foul territory behind third base that should have ended the game. Santana failed to reach it. That one bugged the manager.
“Little disappointed we didn’t catch that ball down the line.”
Santana’s athleticism and raw abilities continue to be obvious, but he can ill afford the mistakes that continue to come in bunches when he’s on the field.