FORT MYERS, FLA. – A breezy day at jetBlue Park had baseballs flying over walls big and small. But Martin Perez still made a positive impression on his new manager.
Perez allowed a run in each of his two innings of work for the Twins on Sunday, including a home run to straightaway center field to Jackie Bradley Jr. But it was an eighth-inning home run by Red Sox prospect Michael Chavis off lefthander Pat Dean that completed Boston’s comeback and earned the Red Sox an 8-5 exhibition victory.
Max Kepler homered twice for the Twins and third base prospect Randy Cesar connected, too, while outfielder LaMonte Wade doubled in a run. But Boston blasted three homers off Twins pitching, with Chavis’ three-run shot that cleared the model Monster and cleared the bases, helping to drop the Twins to 1-2 in Grapefruit League play.
What Rocco Baldelli noticed, however, was Perez’s sharpness in his spring debut, and his ability to make adjustments as he went along.
“Martin’s impressed me since he showed up. … What you really catch is that he’s a really good athlete, commands the ball well, can manipulate the ball and do a lot of different things,” Baldelli said of the lefthander, a free agent signee who is battling for a spot in the Twins’ rotation. “It makes it pretty exciting on our end, because this is a guy who can make adjustments and be several different kinds of pitcher. I thought he threw the ball really well today.”
Three members of the bullpen — Blake Parker, Addison Reed and Trevor May — each recorded three quick outs against the reigning World Series champions, too. But Dean, returning to the Twins’ organization after two years of pitching in Korea, surrendered four runs in the eighth.