Diamond sharp in first outing of spring
Twins lefthander Scott Diamond ended his outing Monday with a strikeout on a changeup, a pitch he wants to use more this season. He was all smiles after he walked off the mound following a two-inning stint against Class AAA Pawtucket.
“Everything just felt smooth,” he said. “I was able to keep the ball down, for the most part, and get ahead of hitters, which is my game.”
It was his first outing since recovering from December surgery in which a bone chip was removed from his elbow. His goal is to be ready by April 12, so he will begin the season on the disabled list.
Diamond threw 23 pitches, 17 for strikes, while giving up a hit and striking out three.
“Today wasn’t so much about the results as it was about my execution of my pitches and trying to control the speed of the game,” he said.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, pitching coach Rick Anderson, General Manager Terry Ryan, members of Ryan’s staff and even pitchers Mike Pelfrey and P.J. Walters moseyed over to the minor league fields to watch Diamond throw.
“Outstanding,” Anderson said of Diamond’s outing.
Diamond was asked about Pelfrey’s presence.
“It’s a good thing I didn’t see him when I was on the mound or I would have been a little nervous,” Diamond said.
Trevor Plouffe is the only Twins player who doesn’t get to take Tuesday off.
Plouffe, who hasn’t played since March 9 due to a strained left calf, will serve as designated hitter in a minor league game Tuesday, then play third base in the minors Wednesday and Thursday. He will hit second in every inning to increase his at-bats, too, in hopes of getting him ready to return to the major league lineup Friday.
• Lefthanders Brian Duensing (two innings) and Glen Perkins (one) each had a scoreless outing during a minor league game Monday. Perkins was dominant — 11 of his 12 pitches were for strikes — as he struck out the side. With minor league spring training games in full swing, look for more regulars to head over there to get work in as the Twins evaluates players trying to make the big club. “Perkins and Diamond are over there to allow us to start making decisions over here,” Ryan said. “It’s fair to assume those guys are in good shape and good standing.”
• Ryan said righthander Anthony Swarzak is getting closer to appearing in a game, although he will have to throw live batting practice first. Swarzak is recovering from cracked ribs suffered during TwinsFest during horseplay. “Not sure of the exact date, but he’s not too far down the line,” Ryan said.
• Catcher Joe Mauer was 2-for-3 on Monday to raise his batting average to .429.
The Twins are off Tuesday, but there will be a Gardenhire in action at the Lee County Sports Complex. Wisconsin-Stout — managed by Toby Gardenhire, Ron’s son — will play one of the Twins’ rookie teams at noon.
la velle e. neal III