Twins 0, Pirates 2: Berrios Adjusting
Image courtesy of Seth Stohs, Twins DailyThe Twins were ready for Derek Shelton to return to Hammond Stadium. When the Twins were done with batting practice, the Pittsburgh Pirates came onto the field for their pregame work.
When Shelton came out, he was met in the middle of the infield by a large contingent of Twins, starting with Rocco Baldelli. Derek Falvey wished him well. Shelton was given hugs by many Twins personnel. In addition, there were a few photos put into a slide show format on the stadiums video board.
In addition, several chatted with Rick Eckstein, the Pirates hitting coach. He was the Twins minor league hitting coordinator in 2018 before getting the Pirates job before the 2019 season. Even after the Pirates made a change with their manager, Eckstein retained his job.
Jose Berrios started and threw three scoreless innings. He gave up one hit, walked two and struck out two batters.
It took him a little to get going at the beginning. "I tried to do the same thing I did last time. Throwing my four-seam fastball. Using the changeup, too. Trying to throw good changeups. But in the beginning, the first inning, I had issues with the grip because of the weather. Because I was thinking about it, I was being too fast with my first side. But other than that, I felt good about the outing."
In addition, Berrios was working on a couple of things. "Yeah. I threw a couple of fastballs well, running up. That's something we've been practicing so far in spring training."
He is also working on a spiked curveball, the more 12-6 variety, to go with his sweeping slider. It's something that his manager thinks will really help him, especially working in concert with his elevated fastball.
Said Baldelli, "Being able to use those pitches off of each other, I think, is certainly a trick that Jose is aware of, and he's used, but I think he's still perfecting that kind of stuff and gaining even more feel for it. He can definitely sweep that breaking ball across the zone and that can be effective for some hitters, but if he can also be able to spin it up and down. We're talking slight adjustments here, but if he can do some different things with the breaking ball, that can come in in a useful way."
Berrios said that he spent some time with Alex Avila after his outing. "After our outing, we talked and obviously, it's the first time we've played together. He said, 'The more I know you, the more comfortable it will be for me.' Today, I think we did great work."
Asked if he and his staff has strategically aligned pitchers and catchers who have not worked with each other to work with each other early in camp, Baldelli said, "Yes. It doesn't always work out [perfectly where you get to match everybody up with exactly who you want them to work with. But I think it is important. know Wes and Mac and Bill also think it is important. We will ty to get Alex out there with as many of our pitchers as we possibly can throughout the spring. Hopefully he sees everyone. Hopefully he will see most of them multiple times. And the same with Bailey and Kenta with all of our guys, just trying to get feel for all these guys. It starts in the bullpens early on in camp and goes into live b.p. then obviously real games The more they can work together the better off we are going to be once the season starts."
Do Hyoung Park from twinsbaseball.com chatted with Zack Littell about his bullpen role. He told pitching coach Wes Johnson that he wants to hit 100 mph.
Littell has really taken to the bullpen role. On Saturday night, he tossed two scoreless innings and struck out three.
Several of the players kids were in the clubhouse before the game on Saturday night. Nelson Cruz's son - also Nelson - was pretty involved in the night. When the Twins were taking infield practice, he was in line with the other Twins third basemen and fielded grounders and made the throws to (or most of the way to) second or first base. Whatever the other guys were doing. They stood together for the national anthem, and Nelson (the younger) got to spend time as a bat boy.
Rocco Baldelli did say that Jorge Polanco is expected to start at DH on Sunday afternoon. It will mark his first game of the spring. Marwin Gonzalez is expected to make his first appearance this week as well.
Please feel free to ask questions. I've done several interviews and I have several more planned. They definitely won't all be published by the time I leave here next week. One thing is for sure. We will have a lot of pictures to use with the Twins Daily articles.
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