Players struggle to see midafternoons at Target Field

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 4, 2013 - 12:03 AM

It’s not the freezing weather that’s bothering some of the Twins.

 

Wednesday’s first-pitch temperature was 46 degrees, though with a steady wind of 18 miles per hour blowing across the diamond, it wasn’t much warmer than Monday’s near-freezing opener. But it’s not the freezing weather that’s bothering some of the Twins.

“I could care less about the temperature. I just put layers on,” first baseman Justin Morneau said. “The bad part is, I can’t see out there.”

Both of the Twins’ first two games were scheduled for 3:10 p.m., and by 3:45, shadows were creeping across the field, leaving first base and home plate in the dark while the pitcher and left side of the infield remained in bright sunshine.

“It’s not easy in the shadows,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “With these 3 o’clock games, it’s tough to see the ball.”

That’s the case in any ballpark, but Morneau said that for some reason, the contrast at Target Field makes it one of the most difficult midafternoon venues he’s played in.

“It’s bad anywhere you go, but here, seeing the ball off the bat, seeing the ball from infielders, seeing the ball out of the pitchers’s hand — I mean, it’s as bad as I can remember right now,” Morneau said. “We can’t control the temperature, but we can control when we play. And this has been tough.”

De Vries start delayed

Cole De Vries’ first start has been pushed back until Sunday, Gardenhire said, after the righthander felt tightness in his forearm again during a bullpen session.

Liam Hendriks will pitch the series opener against Baltimore on Friday — the Orioles’ home opener — and Vance Worley, who pitched six innings Monday against the Tigers, will take De Vries’ spot Saturday.

“It helps keep Worley on five[-day rotation], but it also gives De Vries an extra day,” Gardenhire said. “[The bullpen session] just went OK today. It wasn’t great.”

De Vries will throw in the bullpen in Baltimore on Friday, and the team will make a decision Saturday about whether he’ll make his start or go on the disabled list before his season even starts.

“I was hoping it would be 100 percent by now, but it’s not 100 percent,” De Vries said. “But we’ll see. It could easily be good for Sunday.”

Etc.

• Paid attendance for the 3:10 start was only 22,963, easily the fewest fans ever to witness a Target Field game. The previous record was 27,526, set last Sept. 10 against Cleveland.

• Rookie center fielder Aaron Hicks is now 0-for-7 in his major league career with five strikeouts, though he has drawn a walk in each of his first two games.

• Righthander Anthony Swarzak will require at least one more minor league outing before he’s ready to rejoin the Twins, but that appearance might be put off a couple of days. Swarzak had his wisdom teeth pulled Wednesday, and will be given a couple of days off.

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