JUPITER, FLA. – For Brian Dozier, the Twins’ 7-0 victory over St. Louis on Monday was practically a fielding drill. First, he spends batting practice with Ron Gardenhire, making an adjustment to his footwork around the bag. Then he puts it into action during the game — five times.
“Five double plays — I’m a good listener, right?” Dozier joked after five Minnesota pitchers, led by starter Cole De Vries, limited the Cardinals to two singles all day and posted the Twins’ first Grapefruit League shutout.
“We talked about it during BP, about not going down that base path too much, and he really kept his feet nice around the bag,” Gardenhire said. “You saw how easy the throws were for him, nothing panicked. ... One play where he charged the tag, that’s a really tough play, and his first step was fantastic. That’s nice to see. That’s what we’re looking for.”
Mostly, they’re looking for a starting second baseman, and Dozier seems to be making all the right moves. “He looks like he’s taking the bull by the horns at second base,” Gardenhire said.
Same thing in center field, where Aaron Hicks had another memorable day in his quest to win a job. Hicks led off the game by running the count to 3-2 off Cardinals starter Lance Lynn, then lining an opposite-field single. In the seventh inning, facing St. Louis closer Jason Motte, he let two pitches go by before spotting a fastball in the strike zone. “I was looking for a ball to pull, something hopefully in the 3-hole [first base],” Hicks said. “I got a really good pitch down the middle and didn’t miss it.”
Nope, it carried over the right-field fence for a two-run homer, his first of the spring. An inning later, Brandon Boggs smashed his second home run of camp — one left-handed, and one right-handed — off Edward Mujica.