BRADENTON, Fla. — Twins fans aren’t going to want to hear this, but Vance Worley looked ready for Opening Day during Monday morning’s B game at the minor-league Pirate City complex. The former Twin — Minnesota’s opening day starter in 2013 — struck out Byron Buxton twice and Miguel Sano once in three shutout innings, and Pittsburgh nominally “won” the informal six-inning competition, 2-1.
The Twins had reason to be encouraged by their own pitchers, though, as left-handers Taylor Rogers and Jason Wheeler each pitched two scoreless innings, facing a Pittsburgh lineup made up mostly of major-league veterans. Rogers, facing major-league hitters for the first time in his career, struck out former Brewer Corey Hart to end the first inning, and threw a terrific changeup to induce a double-play ball from Brent Morel in the second inning.
Right-hander Tyler Duffey didn’t fare as well, however, giving up back-to-back doubles and allowing two runs while recording five outs.
Jorge Polanco, batting from the right side, provided the only offense for the Twins, crushing a home run to left field off former Padres left-hander Clayton Richard. It was Polanco’s second home run of the spring, though it won’t appear in the official statistics because it was an informal, unofficial game.
Buxton missed a breaking ball from Worley for strike three in the first inning, and looked at an inside fastball to whiff in the third. Buxton lined a single off Richard in the sixth, however. Sano also struck out twice, the second time appearing frustrated after chasing a looping curveball from ex-Astro and Red Sox reliever Mark Malancon.
Sano’s results in the field were mixed, too; he alertly turned a double play early in the game, tagging the runner before firing to first. But he also allowed a grounder directly at him to scoot through his legs for an error.