BOSTON – Fenway Park is a wonderful change of pace from the tour of newfangled ballparks that have sprouted up over the past 20 years.
“I remember my first time coming here, it never gets old,” Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said. “You just look at that [Green] Monster and you look at all the dents and you wonder which one was [off the bat of] Carl Yastrzemski. Some of those dents are from big Hall of Fame players who played there years and years ago. It’s really fun to come to these parks.”
But it can be a trap for a visiting ballplayer who sizes up the wall and thinks it’s easy to join the thousands of dents, or even clear it with a high fly ball.
“You have to get up there and block that thing out, get a good pitch and drive it,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “You have a chance to get it off that wall if you square it up. But trying to go there, you can get yourself in a little bit of trouble. You can start to screw with your swing.”
Gardenhire said he is more concerned about his pitchers trying to adapt to the park than his hitters.
Of the four scheduled starters for the Twins in this series, lefthander Pedro Hernandez is the only one to make a start in Fenway. And that came last year in his major league debut with the Chicago White Sox, when he was rocked for eight runs over four innings and sent back to the minors after the game.
Anderson spoke with Hernandez about not being influenced by ballpark dimensions. He wants all his starters this week to be who they are.
“You still have to do what makes you successful,” Anderson said. “What happens a lot of times in this park is that people shy away from getting inside on those righties because of that Green Monster. The next thing you know you are away, away, away and the hitters start taking the plate from you and start getting you anyway. Pitch to what makes you successful.”
Kevin Correia is the only other starter to have appeared in a game at Fenway Park but that was one inning in relief.
‘Hard to imagine’
Gardenhire’s wife, Carol, is in town for the series. The two took a walk around the team hotel, which is not far from the area where two homemade bombs went off during the Boston Marathon on April 15. Three people were killed, more than 200 were wounded and a nation grieved as one of the world’s great sporting events was attacked.
Three weeks after the bombings, one restaurant on Boylston Street, The Forum, remains under construction following the blast. But the area was bustling with activity on Monday.
“Hard to imagine,” Gardenhire said. “Always such a lively place downtown — and it is now — but it’s hard to imagine.”
• Righthander Cole De Vries’ next start on his rehabilitation tour will be Friday at Class AA New Britain. De Vries, on the comeback trail from a forearm strain, threw 50 pitches Sunday for Class A Fort Myers in his first outing. He will need a few more outings to build up his stamina to handle around 100 pitches before the club will activate him.
• Catcher Drew Butera, out for about a month because of a broken hand, could be cleared this week to swing a bat.
• Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said rehabbing righthander Tim Wood is working on holding runners on base better during his stint at Class AAA Rochester but that’s secondary to the quality of his pitching. Wood’s rehab stint ends May 15.