FORT MYERS, FLA. – Another notable Twin got his first start Thursday, and the results ... well, you can’t judge everyone by the final score.
Terry Steinbach, who joined Ron Gardenhire’s staff last winter as the Twins’ new bench coach, managed the major league team for the first time in Boston’s 12-5 victory. And given Gardenhire’s 62 career ejections, it won’t be his last chance.
“We’ll talk. As spring training progresses, we’ll figure it out with Gardy,” Steinbach said of his position as the manager’s top lieutenant. “We’ve got a lot of experienced guys. Scott Ullger has obviously managed before. He helped a lot on the bench today. For me, I’m getting my feet wet and figuring out what it’s all about.”
Ullger has stepped in for Gardenhire in the past but has been moved to first-base coach this season, making it more difficult to manage the team. Steinbach has helped coach the Twins in spring training for the past decade, but his only coaching experience is as an assistant at Wayzata
“It’s a big learning curve. There’s a ton to catch up on,” Steinbach said. “It’s fun to be out there, though.” There weren’t many strategic decisions to make, however; the Twins trailed 8-0 after 3½ innings.
Parmelee playing it safe
Chris Parmelee was supposed to serve as the Twins designated hitter in Fort Myers on Thursday, but after booming several home runs in batting practice he felt a tightness in his groin while running the bases. The team’s athletic trainers decided to be cautious and give him another day of rest, so Parmelee was scratched and Eduardo Escobar took his place.
“It’s nothing. Just a little tightness,” Parmelee said of an injury that occurred while he was breaking up a double play Monday in Jupiter, Fla. He said he expects to play this weekend.
Darin Mastroianni did the Twins’ full workout before Thursday’s game, and was cleared by doctors to return to action after missing a week because of a strained left hamstring. The outfielder said it’s up to Gardenhire to determine when he can play again.
A step back
On a day when Aaron Hicks homered three times in Clearwater, Joe Benson, competing with Hicks for the center field job, struck out four times and lost a fly ball in the sun. Another outfielder, Brandon Boggs, also struck out four times against Boston, and the Twins whiffed 14 times as a team.
A step forward
Reliever Tim Wood, who has had a couple of rough outings this spring, struck out the side in the ninth inning against the Phillies to end the game. “We wanted to see him bounce back,” Gardenhire said.
Not like home
Bright House Field might have one of the worst infields in Florida. Pedro Florimon had to dodge out of the way when a ground ball hit to him in the third inning took a bad hop and whizzed by his head. Brian Dozier had a ground ball deflect off his face and into center for a hit in the sixth. Dozier remained in the game and played all nine innings.
The Twins’ first TV game of the spring (FSN Plus) pits Mike Pelfrey against Boston’s Ryan Dempster at 6 p.m.
PHIL MILLER and LA VELLE E. NEAL III