Ryan Pressly has never pitched above Class AA, so he had never faced anything like what greeted him on Wednesday when he stepped to the mound for batting practice: The four hitters he was scheduled to face were Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham, Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe.
"There were some big guys stepping into the box. It was pretty fun facing those guys, seeing what I can do," Pressly said of the experience.
Thing is, the 24-year-old righthander has a great opportunity to join that foursome as a teammate, considering the Twins thought enough of him to choose Pressly in the Rule 5 draft last December. That means he either must stay on the roster all season or be offered back to the Red Sox for half the $50,000 fee the Twins paid for him, so the Twins will take a long look. (The teams could also work out a trade, as has happened in the case of other Rule 5 players like Scott Diamond.)
It was Pressly's second BP session in three days, and "the first one I had, I was amped up. Tried to do more than I should have done," he said. "Today I was relaxed and tried to stay back," though he wasn't happy with he break he was getting on his curveball.
"He misfired a little bit, [but] fastball was pretty decent," judged manager Ron Gardenhire. "First time I've seen him. He handled himself all right. I thought he was doing OK. He didn't rush, he took his time with his pitches."
Other live-BP pitchers Wednesday included Mike Pelfrey, Caleb Thielbar, Tim Wood, Liam Hendriks and Anthony Slama. The sessions all went well, Gardenhire said.
None included a moment, though, like the one Pressly had, when he risked throwing a changeup to Morneau. Result: Swing and a miss, and an appreciative "nasty," from the Twins' first baseman. "If I can get someone to swear at my changeup, I'm doing my job," Pressly joked.