Wednesday’s “go” sign was the first he’s gotten in two seasons as a Twin
DETROIT – Ryan Doumit slid into second base, called time, then cracked a joke.
“I asked the second base umpire if I could keep it,” the Twins catcher said. “Wow, it’s been a long time.”
Three years, actually, since Doumit last stole a base, not that he’s been trying to pad his total ever since. Wednesday’s “go” sign was the first he’s gotten in two seasons as a Twin, so he had to make sure he wasn’t seeing things.
“I saw [the sign] and I kind of had to look at the first-base coach [Scott Ullger] and get confirmation,” Doumit said, shaking his head. “And he’s like, ‘Oh yeah, you’re going.’ ”
That he was, as Chris Parmelee waited for a 3-2 pitch in the third inning. Parmelee missed a slider for strike three, but Doumit easily beat Brayan Pena’s high throw.
“It was kind of fun,” said Doumit, who now has 11 career steals in 17 attempts. So why doesn’t he take off for second more often? “Because usually, I have the red light,” he shrugged.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said he didn’t think the move was unusual at all. Josh Willingham stole a base only last week, after all, though he jammed his knee in doing so and hasn’t played the outfield since. (Gardenhire said Willingham will be back in left field this weekend.)
“We just picked out a pitch and tried to go,” Gardenhire said. “Pick out a breaking ball and move the runner up.”
Yeah, but with a guy whose last steal came on April 29, 2010?
“It’s bad managing,” Gardenhire joked. “Maybe I ought to run him more often.”
Keeping the ball low
Vance Worley might be encouraged with how he’s throwing, but Gardenhire said he made it clear that the Twins expect more from their Opening Day starter.
“I told Andy [pitching coach Rick Anderson] to make sure we talk [to him] about those things,” Gardenhire said. “It’s one thing to say, ‘Boy, I feel great.’ But then you’re giving up six runs — we need him to be better than that.”
Worley said after lasting only 4⅔ innings against the Tigers on Tuesday that “mechanically, everything is coming along fine. … I’d say I’m where I need to be — it’s just the results aren’t there.”
Gardenhire emphasized, though, that it doesn’t matter how good his pitches look if they’re too high in the strike zone.
“It’s still about locating the ball. It’s coming out of his hand [well], I agree with that, but is it coming out where you want it?” Gardenhire said. “All the balls he threw that went out of the ballpark were up. Those are the ones that get hit really hard. I’m happy that it’s coming out of his hand good, that’s a good thing, but he’s got to get the ball down.”
Worley dropped to 0-4 with the loss, and his ERA of 7.22 is the highest in the American League among pitchers with 25 innings.
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