FORT MYERS, FLA. – Kyle Gibson went to the mound on Friday with a new delivery and a new catcher.
And he came away pleased about both as he pitched 1⅔ scoreless innings during the Twins 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay in the spring training opener for both teams.
Gibson threw 29 pitches, throwing first pitch strikes to five of the eight batters he faced. He threw fastballs and changeups, and realized he’s got some tinkering to do with his sinker to regain the movement that he accustomed to getting. But he’s pleased with how his arm responded after his first outing. He was removed after giving up a single on his final pitch.
“It feels a little bit easier, just getting some different momentum shifts,” Gibson said. “My arm feels good and I was able to take some stress off my back. Once you get into game speed and the hitter is up there trying to get a hit, you tend to forget things you have been working on. I feel like I stayed with that delivery as much as I did and have very few pitches where I felt like I came out of it.
“That gave me confidence and will help me going forward.”
As for Castro, Gibson said he’s faced him so much that he probably didn’t have to go over what pitches he likes to throw because the veteran probably already knew his gameplan.
“I think the only time I shook him off is when he called change up when I wanted a heater,” Gibson said. “And it was actually the last guy who got the hit. Learning quickly not to shake him off. He was good.”
The Rays scored in the third inning when on a RBI single by Daniel Robertson off of Brandon Kintzler. Rule 5 righthander Justin Haley gave up three hits and a run in the sixth. Righthander Michael Tonkin gave up a RBI double to Patrick Leonard in the ninth.
Matt Hague scored on a groundout in the ninth for the Twins’ only run.