FORT MYERS, FLA. - Twins owner Jim Pohlad, in Fort Myers on Saturday to watch his team beat the Rays 9-2, went up to second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka and said, "I'm sorry for what is going on in your country."
Pohlad knows from first-hand experience.
Pohlad was part of a group of board members, donors and staff with the Walker Art Center that was on a trip to Japan when the 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit off the northeastern coast. Pohlad's group of about 20 visitors had just finished lunch on the 51st floor of the Mori Tower in Tokyo when the quake occurred.
"We had come down the elevator and we were in the concourse area, and all of a sudden everything started moving and it just progressed and got progressively worse," he said. "Everyone started running. Not just us but all the people in the offices.
"It was scary. When it is happening -- I had never been in an earthquake before -- there's a lot of noise. There's a lot of creaking. You see things moving, and you don't know what is going to happen."
Pohlad said everyone ran out into the streets and waited for the rumbling to stop. Tokyo is located about 250 miles southwest of Sendai, where the earthquake and resulting tsunami did most of the damage.
The group decided to continue its trip, spending the next day on an island about 400-500 miles southwest of Tokyo. But, after a couple days, they headed back northeast to Kyoto.
“That’s when he began to hear about all the nuclear threats,” Pohlad said. “We ended up leaving two days early.”
The Twins, in the next few days, are expected to announce plans to assist with the relief effort in Japan.Twins 9, Tampa Bay 2
Quick hits from the game:
• Delmon Young was 3-for-4 with a three-run homer and four RBI.
• Denard Span was 1-for-5 but made an excellent falling catch of Sean Rodriguez's sinking fly to end the sixth.
• Jim Hoey hit 96 miles-per-hour on the radar gun during a 1-2-3 sixth.
• Nick Blackburn gave up two runs, on a homer by Casey Kotchman, over five innings on seven hits. Two hits didn't leave the infield. Kevin Slowey threw three scoreless innings.Morneau back-to-back
After playing Thursday in Sarasota, Twins first baseman Justin Morneau went 2-for-4 in a minor league game Saturday. Bouncing back after a night game to play in a day game is the latest checkpoint for Morneau as he distances himself from the concussion he suffered on July 7.
He will work out Sunday before resuming his playing schedule on Tuesday.
"He'll get in a lot of ballgames over the next five to six days," manager Ron Gardenhire said.On deck
Twins righthander Scott Baker will face Toronto's Jesse Litsch when the teams meet in Dunedin on Sunday.