DUNEDIN, FLA. – Some Twins looked about ready to start the regular season Monday. And, for a couple of them, it sure sounded like it.
The Twins beat Toronto 8-2 behind strong pitching and long home runs by ByungHo Park and Miguel Sano. The Twins have won five of their past seven spring training games.
Park opened the scoring in the fifth when he launched a no-doubter to the right of the scoreboard in left-center field, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead. Park is batting .394 with a team-high four home runs this spring. He still is battling Kennys Vargas for the designated hitter role, but he looks improved after major struggles last season.
Sano added a long solo blast, his second of the spring, in the sixth. His drive flew left of the scoreboard but carried farther than Park’s.
In addition to Park and Sano, the Twins could have six players in their regular lineup with fewer than 1,000 career major league plate appearances, so there’s a lot of developing going on. They need Park — or whoever is the DH — and Sano to join Brian Dozier as consistent power producers.
“I’m not assuming anything with two weeks to ago,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “But I think we’re going to have some pretty good choices in the middle.”
Tyler Duffey tossed five shutout innings in his most effective outing of spring. He scattered four hits and walked one while striking out two and lowering his spring ERA to 3.86.
He was replaced by lefthander Adalberto Mejia, who tossed three scoreless innings before giving up back-to-back home runs in the ninth. Both Duffey and Mejia are battling for the fifth starter’s spot in the rotation.
La VELLE E. NEAL III