FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Four players in the Twins' lineup Wednesday are batting .200 or less this spring. No Twin has reached double-digits in RBIs this spring, and the leader is utility man Eduardo Escobar, who won't play every day.
Oswaldo Arcia hit his second home run of the spring on Wednesday moving him into a tie for the team lead with Brandon Waring -- who was sent to the minors 10 days ago.
Yeah, it's a little glum around the batting cage at the moment. Minnesota scored just 614 runs last season, their fewest in a full season since 1968, but assistant general manager Rob Antony said he's been surprised, and a little disappointed, that they haven't hit any better in March.
"Who's had a great spring, of the position guys? I mean, has anybody really impressed? I read some of the clips on other teams: 'Guy hits his fifth homer of the spring.' We usually have a guy who does some of that too," Antony said. "We've been awfully quiet."
The Twins scored one run Wednesday, the fourth time in seven games they have managed only one. Jason Kubel's batting average has dipped below .200 again, new catcher Kurt Suzuki is right at that level, and cleanup hitter Josh Willingham is a remarkable 2-for-36 this spring.
"I wouldn't say [it's] discouraging. You'd like to see more. You'd like to see signs of life, to give you a little conviction and belief, even if it is just spring training," Antony said. "But I do believe when it counts and you have your nine regulars out there for nine innings, that things will be better."
If nothing else, the Twins were a little feisty on Wednesday, after Arcia was hit in the back by a Brandon Cumpton pitch in the fourth inning. Antony Swarzak retaliated (it appeared) by plunking Pirates catcher Tony Sanchez a half-inning later, and both benches were warned.
Swarzak's two-inning stint ended with a line drive that struck him in the forearm, but he grabbed the ricochet and threw the batter, Travis Snider, out. As he walked off the field, the Pirates were yelling at Swarzak, and he stopped to yell back. Things got tense before Swarzak was pulled away.
"There was a lot of chirping going on," Gardenhire said. "I thought their hitter should have been thrown out of the game for hitting my pitcher," he joked.
Seriously, though, Gardenhire thought it was inappropriate for the Pirates to be heckling Swarzak about a play in which it initially appeared he had been injured by the line drive. "That was a little disappointing. When a guy gets hurt, your concern is that he's hurt. We've seen pitchers get whacked pretty good, so I'm not big on that. Good intensity, though. We need it."
Swarzak had an icepack on his arm after the game, but said he was fine. "If it was the regular season, I'd have stayed in the game," he said.