Twins closer Matt Capps was determined to pitch multiple innings at least once this spring, so he started Sunday's B game against the Pirates, tossing two scoreless innings in a 3-2 loss.
Capps allowed one hit and no walks, notching two strikeouts and throwing 19 of his 26 pitches for strikes. That won't show up in his official spring statistics; he has a 1.80 ERA in five Grapefruit League games.
Last spring, Capps posted a 0.00 ERA in 10 appearances, but each lasted only one inning. Once the season started, as other relievers struggled or got injured, the Twins started calling on Capps to get more than three outs. His arm didn't respond well, and his ERA ballooned to 5.09 by late May.
"It's nobody's fault but my own for not saying this is what I need to do," Capps said. "I need to throw two innings [in a spring game]. I need to stretch out. I've done it every year of my career, with the exception of last year."Plouffe to rest
Trevor Plouffe strained his right hamstring as he rounded first base after hitting an RBI single in the seventh inning of Sunday's A game. General Manager Terry Ryan said Plouffe's injury isn't serious, but the team will have him rest until Wednesday.
Plouffe is batting .276 with a .310 on-base percentage and has split time in left field with Ben Revere.Baker update
Scott Baker plans to test his right elbow with a full-speed bullpen session Monday. Baker, who had a recent bout with tendinitis, had no problems with Saturday's bullpen session, but that was at about 75-80 percent effort.
If this one goes well, Baker could be cleared to pitch in a game Thursday. It remains uncertain whether he will be ready to make his first regular-season start, in the April 9 home opener against the Angels.Dozier connects
Shortstop prospect Brian Dozier, who tripled off the left-center field wall last week, cleared the fence Sunday for his first homer of the spring.
"He just dropped the [bat] head, threw his hands at the ball, crushed it," bench coach Scott Ullger said. "Inside fastball. Really good two-strike hitting."
Ullger served as interim manager the past four games, while Ron Gardenhire attended his father-in-law's funeral in Wichita, Kan. Gardenhire is scheduled to return to the team Monday.On deck
Jason Marquis, who has a 9.35 ERA and has allowed 14 hits in 82/3 innings, will make his fourth start of the spring Monday, when the Twins play the Red Sox at JetBlue Park. Marquis primarily used his sinking fastball and his changeup in his first three outings, and now the 12-year veteran will start to mix in his breaking pitches. Felix Doubront is scheduled to start for the Red Sox.