FORT MYERS, FLA. – By the end of the fourth inning Thursday, Kevin Correia had induced 10 groundball outs. He pitched inside effectively, got a big out when he needed it, even threw a couple curveballs over for strikes.
“It was my most efficient outing, probably, of the spring,” Correia said, “Nice to have that one before the season starts.’’
The Twins lost to the Red Sox 6-1, but Correia was able to pitch up to the level the club thinks he can pitch to.
The only run off of Correia was a hustle play by Jacoby Ellsbury, who stretched a single into a double in the first inning, went to third on one grounder and scored on another.
Correia was in command after that, retiring eight of nine batters to get him into the fifth.
Then he got into a jam, loading the bases on three singles. With two outs, Correia got Dustin Pedroia to ground out to third to end the inning. He threw 63 pitches, 43 for strikes.
Good regular-season practice there but, as Correia pointed out, how many of those scenarios does he need to be in during spring games?
“I’ve had some jams in some other games,’’ he said. “I’ve had a lot of opportunities to practice that so I feel like ready for those this season.”
The Twins mustered only five hits against Clay Buchholz and friends, but manager Ron Gardenhire said his regulars have played a lot of games recently and might need a break. They will get before Monday’s Opening Day.
Gardenhire came away pleased that Correia raised his game. “That is what we’re looking for,” he said.
La VELLE E. NEAL III