FORT MYERS, Fla. – Fernando Romero has five weeks of Grapefruit League games to prepare for his new role in the bullpen. No rush, right? Just ease into it?
That’s not how the righthander plays, however.
“Any time I’m out there, I’m bringing 100 percent,” Romero said after getting the Rays’ attention with fastballs that hit 97 miles per hour on the stadium gun Saturday.
Romero struck out two in his one-inning Grapefruit League debut, Byron Buxton drove in five runs with a single and a home run and the Twins handed Rocco Baldelli his first spring victory as a manager, 10-5 over Tampa Bay at Hammond Stadium.
“I’m not worried about velocity,” Romero said after his impressive spring debut. “I’m just trying to throw the ball well. I’ve got to keep working at it.”
The retooled Twins offense worked over Tampa Bay starter Ryan Yarbrough, who gave up four runs while recording only one out. Eddie Rosario drove in a run with a first-inning single, and Buxton knocked Yarbrough out of the game with a two-run single to short right-center.
Two innings later, with two runners on, Buxton smashed a pitch from Rays lefthander Jalen Beeks onto the berm in left field, giving him nearly as many RBI in his first game as the six he had during all of spring training last year.