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Florimon gets to have it both ways

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN
  • Star Tribune
  • September 25, 2012 - 11:14 PM

Twins shortstop Pedro Florimon was a righthanded hitter as a youngster in the Dominican Republic and began switch hitting when he was 10. Coming through the minors with the Orioles, he heard some discussion about whether he should stop swinging lefthanded and just concentrate on his right side.

But Florimon, 25, stuck with switch hitting, and Monday, he connected for his first career homer -- batting lefthanded. But he went 0-for-3 Tuesday, batting lefthanded each time, including a bases-loaded strikeout with one out in the seventh inning against the Yankees' Phil Hughes. This dropped his average to .241, including .275 from the right side and .224 from the left.

"He looks more natural from the right side, but as you saw, he dropped the head [of the bat] from the left side and popped it pretty good," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

It's common for switch hitters to feel better batting lefthanded over time because they use that side more, with more righthanded pitchers in baseball than lefthanders.

"I feel like I've got more power righthanded, but I feel more comfortable from the left side," Florimon said.

Willingham update

Josh Willingham underwent a magnetic resonance imaging exam and was diagnosed with a sprained left shoulder. He's day-to-day, General Manager Terry Ryan said, but with an off day coming Thursday, Willingham likely won't play until at least Friday.

Willingham injured himself when he jumped to try to catch a home run hit by Eric Chavez in the seventh inning of Monday's 6-3 loss.

Capps bounces back

When Matt Capps first injured his shoulder this June, the worst soreness came the day after he pitched. But Capps said his right shoulder felt good Tuesday, one day after making his first appearance in 10 weeks.

The Twins want to be cautious with Capps, so they don't plan to use him again until Friday at the earliest. On Monday, Capps faced five batters, allowing no runs on two hits.

"I went back and looked at the velocity, and it was 89-90 [miles per hour]," Capps said. "Obviously, that's not where I want it to be or where it's going to be. At the same time, it was my fifth time off a mound."

Buxton recognized

Byron Buxton, the No. 2 overall choice in last June's draft by the Twins, was named the top prospect in the Gulf Coast League by Baseball America. The magazine's scouting profile on the center fielder said, in part, "He didn't show much in-game power during his high school season, but he has flashed plus raw pop [in the minors].

"Buxton has considerable offensive potential and is particularly alluring as a two-way threat. He's at least a 70 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale, making him a threat to steal bases and allowing him to cover huge amounts of land in center field. He has a plus arm and could be a premium defender."

Beyond the tools, Ryan said the Twins were pleased to see what a good teammate Buxton was this year, as he advanced from the GCL and competed in the playoffs for rookie-level Elizabethton.

Etc.

• Saturday's game between the Twins and Tigers has been moved from a noon start to 3:05 p.m., and will be televised on Fox (Ch. 9).

• Timberwolves forward Kevin Love is scheduled to throw out Wednesday's ceremonial first pitch.

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