FORT MYERS, FLA. -- Oswaldo Arcia took batting practice Friday and also made throws from the outfield. Arcia communicated this by making gestures for a swing and a throw. Then he said: "Everything's good. Saturday or Sunday.''
Dustin Morse, the Twins' media director, said: "In a game?''
Arcia nodded. There was confidence in that nod, even though Arcia still had a large ice pack wrapped to his side as he sat with teammates in the Twins clubhouse at mid-afternoon Friday.
Manager Ron Gardenhire was around the corner, in his office, finalizing the names of players that will be the making the trip to Bradenton for Saturday's exhibition game vs. Pittsburgh. First, there would Friday's game against Boston at Jet Blue Park -- the first of an unprecedented seven night games over the final 23 exhibitions scheduled in Florida.
"Road, road, road,'' said Gardenhire, looking at this stretch of schedule that had a Twins' squad on the road for seven games in 11 days, including pain-in-the-hind quarters trips to Jupiter (twice) and Clearwater.
A night game followed by an early departure to Bradenton isn't the best of scenarios, but Gardenhire was hopeful that the trainers would clear Arcia to take the bus ride and play against the Pirates.
"I'll change the lineup I'm working on right now to get to see him,'' Gardenhire said of Arcia.
Thje 21-year-old lefty-hitting Venezuelan was the Twins Minor League Player of the Year in 2012. He 61 extra-base hits (17 home runs) and 98 RBI in a 124 games played at Class A Fort Myers and Class AA New Britain.
B.J. Hermsen, the minor league pitcher of the year, was a teammate in both places.
"That kid can definitely hit,'' Hermsen said. "I've been with him all the way up and he also became more of a leader. He came to the ballpark every day with the attitude that he was going to do something to help us win a game.
"He hits for power, but I'd also he's above average as far as speed goes. He gets the job done in the outfield and he throws well. He knows how to hit, but he also knows how to play the game.''
One item Arcia didn't know to do was to stay in his best shape over the winter. He reported 10-12 pounds heavier than the Twins preferred. And then he pulled the muscle in his side and hasn't played yet in a game.
That could change Saturday. And everybody wants to see him swing the bat, including Aaron Hicks, the current talk of Twins' camp and front-runner to open as a rookie in center field.
I mentioned Arcia to Hicks in a radio interview Friday afternoon and said: "I'm told there is some life in his bat.''
Hicks gave the smile that comes with first-hand knowledge and said, "Oh, yeah, there's some life in his bat. Oswaldo's supposed to be getting close. We all want to see him play.''
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