PORT ST. LUCIE -- Spring training games often don't include extra innings, particularly if the visitors have used all their pitching and have a long bus ride ahead. That's why the Twins accepted their third tie in a week on Saturday, after a game played in beautiful 80-degree weather at Tradition Field.
One guy who could have used a few more innings of work, perhaps, is shortstop Danny Santana. The 23-year-old Dominican is likely headed to Class AAA Rochester, but looks like the Twins' future at shortstop.
If he can tighten his grip on the ball.
For the third consecutive day, Santana misplayed a ball in the field, this time dropping a throw from first baseman Chris Colabello after pitcher Scott Diamond picked off Mets outfielder Matt den Dekker. Diamond was already a step or two toward the dugout when Santana dropped the ball and pounded his glove into the dirt in frustration, but he had no trouble ending the inning a couple pitches later.
Manager Ron Gardenhire, eager to get starter Pedro Florimon back on the field, said Santana's troubles are typical of a young shortstop. "He's always trying to be too quick. He was trying to be too quick on the tag and the ball comes out," Gardenhire said. "Yesterday, same thing. Try to be too quick on the tag and misses the ball. He has good at-bats, makes some great throws. But the [requirement] is slowing the game down and making all the routine plays and getting the outs you're supposed to. He's got to work on that."
Working on fundamentals helps. Just look at the play Chris Parmelee made in the fourth inning, Gardenhire said. Antony Swarzak relieved Diamond with two outs and runners on first and second, and gave up a sharp single to Mets outfielder Brian Burgamy.
But Parmelee came up with the ball quickly and whistled a one-hop throw to the plate, where catcher Eric Fryer easily tagged out Anthony Recker.
"Very nice. Heck of a throw. That's what you'e got to do," Gardenhire said of Parmelee's throw. "We've been working on that stuff enough, you'd better throw it perfect."
That's it from the Atlantic side of Florida for today. Back tomorrow from Hammond Stadium.