- Minnesota Twins recalled LHP Devin Smeltzer from St. Paul Saints.
- Minnesota Twins optioned LHP Lewis Thorpe to St. Paul Saints.
St. Paul 3, Omaha 4
Caught in-between a starter and bullpen role in the bigs, Twins staple Randy Dobnak found his stride on the bump for the Saints on Thursday evening. The ‘Mustache Machine’ was stellar in his first start for St. Paul, shutting out Omaha in 4.0 IP.
Despite Dobnak’s outing, the Storm Chasers were able to nip the Saints in 11 innings thanks to a bases-loaded Kevin Merrell single.
Outcome aside, the Saints saw moments of brilliance both on the bump from Dobnak and at the plate from multiple players. Both Rob Refsnyder and Trevor Larnach tallied their second homers of the year. Refsnyder’s shot came in the first at-bat of the game and Larnach followed an inning later.
The Saints recorded 11 hits on the night thanks to eight of the nine players in their starting lineup. Unfortunately, the club left 15 runners on base and were two for thirteen with runners in scoring position.
Spring Training sensation Derek Law replaced Dobnak on the bump and had an excellent outing, striking out two in a scoreless fifth inning.
Wind Surge Wisdom
Wichita 6, Springfield 7
Twins fans know Aaron Whitefield for his important work in filling the ‘Byron Buxton-less’ Twins outfield last year. His name isn’t going away. Whitefield crushed a 7th inning grand slam to left-center field to give the Wind Surge a 5-1 lead.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough, as Springfield responded with five runs in the 7th and one more in the 8th to sneak by with a 7-6 win.
Whitefield also added a double in the top of the 9th in a late-game effort to tie the game. Despite the loss, the Aussie is off to a stellar start, slashing .545/.615/1.182.
Wichita was plagued with ‘ducks left on the pond,’ leaving seven runners in scoring position and batting one for nine with runners in scoring position.
In addition to Whitefield’s grand slam, Wichita touted other exciting news off the field. The Wind Surge announced the debut of their official mascot, Windy the Pegasus. According to Senior Manager of Fan Experience Bob Moulette, Windy ‘came in with the Kansas winds’ and will sport the same red uniform that the team wears at home.
Windy was officially introduced this afternoon in front of students at Franklin Elementary School in Wichita. The sky blue horse with navy wings will join T.C. Bear, Mudonna (St. Paul), Mr. Shucks (Cedar Rapids), and Mussel Man (Ft. Meyers) as the newest member of the Twins organization mascot community.
Reliable sources can confirm that a life-sized costume of the soft drink ‘Surge’ was a close second choice. Better luck next year, Tom Froemming.
Cedar Rapids 2, Peoria 7
Following a career-best night in professional baseball, Matt Wallner’s 4th inning triple was one of the only bright spots in a 7-2 loss to Peoria on Thursday night in Cedar Rapids. The Forest Lake, Minnesota native nailed a 1-2 pitch to left field for his fifth hit in the last two days. Wallner also punched a single up the middle in the first inning off Peoria starter Matt Chamberlain.
The Force from Forest Lake
Wallner, who is Twins Daily's #13 prospect in the organization isn't just getting hits. he's exercising ever possible way to get on base. In addition to his single and triple, Wallner reached on a walk (HBP) in the third. On Wednesday he drove a second inning inning 1-2 pitch over the right field fence and repeated the act on a 3-2 pitch in the seventh. Oh, and he punched a single in the ninth the advanced the eventual game-winning running runner.
"He's a big-bodied kid who barrels up a lot of balls, two more of them tonight," skipper Brian Dinkelman said following Thursday's game. "He's learning about professional baseball and carries himself in a good way. He's been impressive so far and if he keeps doing what he's doing he'll make his way through the system and up to Major League Baseball."
I had the chance to chat with Wallner about his journey to pro ball over the offseason. Pretty cool to see Wallner kick off the season like he is for the organization that he grew up cheering for!
Back on the Bump
Perhaps the greatest story of the evening revolved around reliever Zach Featherstone, who pitched for the first time since 2018 following Tommy John Surgery.
"It was pretty cool, it's been like three years (since I last pitched)," Featherstone said.
Despite his hiatus on the mound, the 2016 Twins draft pick viewed the past few years as a learning opportunity.
"Obviously COVID was tough for everyone, but I really tried to use the time as an opportunity to watch big leaguers and dive into pitch sequencing. I focused on how I can attack hitters based off of that data (from pitch sequencing). That isn't something that I would have done (prior to the injury)."
It's great to have you on the bump again Zach, we're rooting for you!
Spencer Steer, Jair Carmargo, and Yeltsin Encarnacion also recorded hits for the Kernels, who are now 2-1 on the year.
Kernels starter Blayne Enlow lasted four innings, giving up seven hits and two runs. Despite the hits, Enlow struck out six, and only one of his runs was allowed. Not a bad first rodeo for the 2019 draft pick!
Fort Myers 1, Bradenton 3
Despite a rock-solid start from RHP Sean Mooney, the Mussels were unable to get the bats going in a 3-1 loss to Bradenton. Mooney was electric out of the gate, striking out four of the first six that he faced. That ended when former Golden Gopher Eli Wilson homered off Mooney to put Bradenton on the board in the third.
Mooney recovered by striking out the next hitter and drawing a popout but left the game with two outs in the third with an arm injury.
The lone run for the Mussels came in the top of the 7th when second basemen Eduord Julien punched a one-out triple and later scored on a sac-fly from right-fielder Max Smith. Auburn product Julien is off to a hot start in 2021, slashing .444/.643/.778 in the first three games of the year.
The only other Mussel hit came from the Twins Daily #7 prospect and 2019 Round 1 draft pick Keoni Cavaco. The Chula Vista, CA native knocked a liner to LF in the top of the fourth but was gunned down at second on the extra-base attempt. Cavaco is now slashing .417/.533/1.033 on the year.
Twins Minor League Players of the Day
Pitcher of the Day: Randy Dobnak (St. Paul) - 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
Hitter of the Day: Aaron Whitefield (Wichita) - 2-for-4, 2 H, R, 4 RBI, BB, SO
Here’s a look at how the Twins Daily Top 20 Twins Prospects performed:
#1 - Alex Kirilloff (Minnesota) – Assigned to 10-day IL
#2 - Royce Lewis (Rehab) - Out for Season (torn ACL)
#3 - Trevor Larnach (St. Paul) – 1-for-5, 2 R, 1 RBI, HR(2)
#4 - Ryan Jeffers (St. Paul) – 1-for-5, RBI, BB
#5 - Jhoan Duran (St. Paul) – Did not pitch
#6 - Jordan Balazovic (Wichita) – Injured List (back)
#7 - Keoni Cavaco (Ft. Myers) – 1-for-4, K
#8 - Aaron Sabato (Ft. Myers) – 0-for-3, BB 2 K
#9 - Matt Canterino (Cedar Rapids) – Did not pitch
#10 - Blayne Enlow (Cedar Rapids) – 4.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K
#11 - Gilberto Celestino (Wichita) – 0-for-4, BB, 3 SO
#12 - Brent Rooker (St. Paul) – 1-for-3, 3 BB, 2 SO
#13 - Matt Wallner (Cedar Rapids) – 2-for-2, R, 1 BB
#14 - Misael Urbina (Complex) – N/A
#15 - Cole Sands (Wichita) – 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 SO
#16 - Edwar Colina (Rehab) - 60-Day IL (elbow)
#17 - Ben Rortvedt (Minnesota) – Did not play
#18 - Alerick Soularie (Complex) – N/A
#19 - Jose Miranda (Wichita) – 1-for-5
#20 - Bailey Ober (St. Paul) – Did not pitch
FRIDAY’S PROBABLE STARTERS
St. Paul @ Omaha (7:05PM CST) – RHP Griffin Jax
Wichita @ Springfield (7:05PM CST) – RHP Austin Schulfer
Peoria @ Cedar Rapids (6:35PM CST) – LHP Tyler Watson
Fort Myers @ Bradenton (5:05PM CST) – LHP Brent Headrick