FORT MYERS, FLA. – The spring training-long sputtering of the Twins offense continued Friday in their penultimate game in Florida, a 4-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Hammond Stadium.
The Twins managed only seven hits off lefthander Felix Dubront and the Red Sox bullpen, but they had some real chances to score. They had two men on base in the first, fourth and fifth innings, but they never could get a key hit.
The fourth and fifth innings were particularly troubling. Aaron Hicks and Eduardo Escobar led off the fourth with singles, but Pedro Florimon, Jason Bartlett and Joe Mauer followed with strikeouts. Trevor Plouffe singled and Josh Willingham walked to lead off the fifth, but Chris Colabello struck out, Josmil Pinto flied out and Hicks struck out to end that threat.
The Twins were 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position Friday. They entered the game 29th in the major leagues with a .229 batting average with runners in scoring position this spring.
When Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was asked to assess camp this spring, he replied, "Well, I think, I would hope that we would be a little farther along in our hitting."
Bartlett, who will make the Twins Opening Day roster as a utility player, was 1-for-5 on Friday and is batting .098. Willingham was 0-for-2 with a walk, and his batting average is now down to .051 this spring.
La VELLE E. NEAL III