FORT MYERS, FLA. – Chris Parmelee is trying to land one of those coveted spots on Twins manager Ron Gardenhire’s bench, so the last thing he needed was to report to camp with any physical ailments.
That possibility, however, arose in January when he needed surgery to remove cysts from his right wrist.
The wrist has responded well, and Parmelee is off to a decent start in what is a critical camp for him. He was 1-for-2 with a hard single to right and a run scored during the Twins’ 11-5 loss to Baltimore on Wednesday night. Parmelee is batting .300 with one homer and three RBI in spring games.
“You want to come in and slug away right from the get go,” Parmelee said, “but, with the wrist thing, I’m glad to be swinging the bat right now and be pain-free. That’s the most important thing for me. And I’m just trying to take it slow at the same time because I don’t want to aggravate anything. So the results are actually a bonus for me.”
Parmelee is relieved he is 100 percent and able to compete for a roster spot. He was hampered by a sore wrist late last season and went to get it checked out during the offseason. Doctors suspected nerve damage and treated it as such. The weeks rolled on and the wrist never improved. Doctors took another look and discovered three small cysts inside the wrist that were irritating the nerve.
So Parmelee had surgery to remove the cysts in mid-January. He felt fine when he reported to camp early but he was seen every day with the wrist wrapped up after workouts. But there have been no setbacks. Out of options, Parmelee is battling for a backup outfielder/designated hitter role that also might include some action at first base on the days Joe Mauer won’t play in the field.
“[Parmelee’s] got a different look in his eyes right now,” Gardenhire said. “He’s not worried about anything, just going out and playing. He knows what’s at stake with him.”
Parmelee played in right field in a game where the Twins were rocked by the Orioles. Twins hitters faced righthander Chris Tillman, Baltimore’s likely Opening Day starter, and scored three runs off him in the second inning. That inning was set up by right fielder Xavier Paul, who overran Josh Willingham’s sinking fly for an error.
Twins righthander Mike Pelfrey gave up two earned runs over 2⅓ innings, admitting he left too many pitches over the plate. Pelfrey was replaced by righthander Jared Burton, who gave up a three-run homer to Johnny Monell that gave the Orioles a 5-3 lead.
Catcher Kurt Suzuki was struck on the right foot by an Eddie Gamboa pitch in the fourth inning. Suzuki fell over after being struck and remained in the game after being checked out by trainer Tony Leo. But Suzuki was pulled after the inning ended for Josmil Pinto. Gardenhire said Suzuki was fine, and he is on the list to play Thursday against St. Louis.
Baltimore broke the game open in the sixth with five more runs, four unearned, off Scott Diamond.