FORT MYERS, Fla. — Twins pitcher Jake Odorizzi said after his first start of spring training recently that he was likely to continue his work on the backfields. True to his word, he worked away from the big crowd at Hammond Stadium on Tuesday, throwing a 52-pitch simulated game.
Odorizzi spent his time working on his offspeed pitches, and said the backfield was the best place to do it because he can work without having to worry about the count or recording outs.
“Over there you’re like, ‘Alright, I need to get outs. I need to get through the inning, whatever it may be so you kind of revert back to what you might not want to work on at the time, I guess is the right way to put it,” Odorizzi said. “I’m always a fan of doing this. It’s always good. I’m getting data as I’m doing it as well, too, so I’m getting feedback instantly, and we’re kind of talking about it, so it was good for adjustment purposes.”
The Twins are content with Odorizzi working away from game action for most of spring training, where he prefers to remain as unseen by opponents as possible. Pitching coach Wes Johnson and fellow starter Rich Hill were among the observers of Odorizzi’s work on Tuesday.
“When you take the mound in the game, obviously, you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “But when you know yourself very well and know what it takes to build yourself up, like Odo does, he doesn’t feel like he has to get on the mound every start and prove something during the game. He’s trying to get himself ready for a long season.”
Baldelli says you can read as much — or as little — as you want into his spring training lineups. His lips are sealed, though.
“Hopefully the day before Opening Day, we will probably feel really good about the lineup we’re going to put out there,” Baldelli said.
The Twins came the closest yet to getting all of their regulars on the field on Tuesday in a 5-1 exhibition game victory over the Detroit Tigers. Marwin Gonzalez, who is working his way back from offseason knee surgery, made his spring debut, and Jorge Polanco, rehabbing from ankle surgery, appeared at shortstop for the first time.
“It’s a chance to get a lot of these guys out there. And the off day (on Wednesday) helps us reset in a lot of ways,” Baldelli said. There’s nothing to prepare for the following day, so let’s get a bunch of our regulars some innings next to each other and continue to get some at-bats.”
The only starters who did not play Tuesday were second baseman Luis Arraez, who made the long road trip to Jupiter a day earlier, and Byron Buxton, who is rehabbing from shoulder surgery and has yet to play in a game.
The Twins’ batting order had Max Kepler up at the top, followed by Polanco, Nelson Cruz, Josh Donaldson, Eddie Rosario, Mitch Garver, Miguel Sano, Gonzalez and Jake Cave, who started in center field.
The Twins and Entercom extended their radio partnership through the 2023 season, a four-year extension that includes the addition of a simulcast on FM radio.
Beginning this season, the Twins will be broadcast on 830 WCCO (AM) and 102.9 The Wolf. That includes spring training, regular season and postseason games, beginning this weekend when the Twins travel to the Dominican Republic for a game on Saturday.
“We are thrilled to further extend our successful broadcast partnership with Entercom, while also bringing Twins baseball to a FM audience as a supplement to our metro flagship home on 830 WCCO,” Twins president and CEO Dave St. Peter said in a release. “While WCCO is synonymous with Twins baseball, we are excited to ensure even greater access through our simulcast on 102.9 The Wolf.”
Randy Dobnak continued his quest toward a rotation spot with three efficient, scoreless innings against the Tigers.
Miguel Sano hit his first home run of the spring, in the seventh inning.
The Twins will have their first off day of the spring on Wednesday.