FORT MYERS, FLA. – The Twins are confident they will have a good bullpen this season. But some of the people they will rely on have sent mixed signals during spring training.
Starter Liam Hendriks struggled with his mechanics and gave up three home runs during the Twins’ 7-4 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday, but righthander Alex Burnett made things worse by giving up runs for the fourth time in five outings.
Burnett gave up two earned runs on two hits and three walks as his spring ERA swelled to 9.00.
“Can’t control the fastball,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Gets behind. Gets killed.”
Righthander Tim Wood, another bullpen candidate, has struggled with holding runners on base but had a second consecutive scoreless outing Sunday. Wood had been timed as slow as 1.8 seconds to home plate but was in the 1.3 range Sunday.
“He’s out there trying,” Gardenhire said. “That all I [care] about.”
Jared Burton has been shaky, too. But he threw a scoreless eighth inning while getting his velocity up to 90 miles per hour.
“A lot better,” Gardenhire said. “More movement on his pitches. His slider was sharp.”
Wood and righthanders Josh Roenicke and Ryan Pressly are pushing for spots on the roster. Wood and Roenicke are out of options, while Pressly is a Rule 5 pick who has to stay on the major league roster all season if he is to remain with the Twins.
La VELLE E. NEAL III