FORT MYERS, FLA. - His goal Sunday, Glen Perkins said, was pretty basic. "I guess you want to find out if you still have it from last year," the Twins closer said.
As the Rays can testify: He does.
Perkins struck out the first two hitters he faced in his spring debut, getting Tampa Bay leadoff hitter Sam Fuld on a fastball and second baseman Sean Rodriguez on a slider.
"That good slider to [Rodriguez], that was the one I wanted to see," Perkins said. "That slider was in the dirt, so I know it has good bite. It's coming along good."
Perkins normally finishes Twins games, but after throwing the third inning in order to face major league-caliber hitters, he was long gone by the time the Twins finally fell to Tampa Bay 10-7. He missed a great comeback, five runs in the bottom of the ninth, by his spring-training teammates.
Brandon Boggs belted a three-run home run to spark the rally, and Chris Colabello tied the score with a single off shortstop Hak-Ju Lee's glove. But righthander Deolis Guerra gave up three runs in the 10th, two on a homer by Mark Thomas, and the Twins fell to 0-2 in Grapefruit League play.
The Twins trailed 7-2 entering the bottom of the ninth, but Boggs, a free-agent signee competing for the Twins' vacant center field job, smashed a Jimmy Patterson pitch far over the left field wall with two runners on base.
"I'm just getting to see him. I don't know a lot about" the former Rangers and Brewers player, manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He moves around in the outfield fine. And he jumped on that pitch."