FORT MYERS, FLA. – Twins righthander Jose Berrios needed 20 pitches to get out of the first inning Sunday. He lasted only one inning in his Grapefruit League debut Tuesday, throwing a whopping 32 pitches against Boston. Sunday’s outing in a 9-3 loss to Pittsburgh was not as shaky, but it was far from smooth as Berrios needs to fine tune his command. And that is what spring training is for.
“Better than the first outing,” manager Paul Molitor said. “Not where I think he wants it to be, but saw enough. Rather than overthrow the fastball I think he was trying to locate it.
“I was pleased with the second outing overall.”
Berrios ended up with 2⅓ scoreless innings, giving up three hits while striking out two. He needed only 11 pitches to retire the side in order in the second. He was pulled in the third after throwing 14 more pitches.
“I tried to be more aggressive with the hitters,” he said.
Garver shows off his strong arm
Catcher Mitch Garver, out since Wednesday because of a minor knee injury, was back in the lineup Sunday and showed off his arm in the fifth inning when he threw out base-stealer Adam Frazier.
Garver cut the infield in half with his throw, making it easy for second baseman Brian Dozier to catch the ball and make the tag.
Garver has thrown out 32 percent of baserunners attempting to steal in the minors, a good rate.
Blood for Busenitz
Righthander Alan Busenitz left the game with one out in the ninth after giving up four hits and two runs. As it turned out, Busenitz was battling a bloody thumb and needed to leave the game.
“He had a little light blood on his fingernail,” Molitor said. “I don’t know if the skin was pulling off or not. But it didn’t look blistery to me. Sometimes you pull the skin off where it meets the nail and it will [bleed].”
Cuts are just around the corner
A majority of minor leaguers are already at camp ahead of Tuesday’s official reporting day. Intersquad games start Sunday and official spring games March 14.
The opening of minor league camp means the first cuts from the major league camp are getting close. Twins starting pitchers will be heading into their third appearances of spring. They all need to keep building their endurance for the regular season, but that will be hard to do as pitchers get stretched. So the Twins usually send a few down the street to pitch in minor league games so they can stay on their progression.
• Catcher Jason Castro said he felt much better Sunday after suffering from a migraine late last week. He also isn’t worried that the migraine is linked to the concussion he suffered in August of last season. Molitor said Castro will start behind the plate Tuesday when the Twins play host to Baltimore.
• Infielder Nick Gordon (wrist) and outfielder Nick Stassi (back) returned to action Sunday after recovering from minor injuries.
Gibson is scheduled to start Monday when the Twins travel to Clearwater to face the Phillies. Aaron Slegers, Stephen Gonsalves and Fernando Romero also are scheduled to pitch.