FORT MYERS, FLA. – Twins first base coach Scott Ullger has a new driver, 3-wood and putter thanks to a deal with Phil Hughes in exchange for Ullger’s No. 45.
“Some guys said I should have held out for more,” Ullger said. “I’m not greedy.”
Athletes routinely work out deals to get their preferred number, and sometimes the gifts are extravagant. Hughes said he just handed over No. 34 to A.J. Burnett when he joined the Yankees in 2009, but he believed he should give Ullger something for his number.
“It wasn’t that important,” said Hughes, who also wore No. 65 with the Yankees. “It was my number in high school.”
It’s the second time Ullger, in his 20th season as a Twins coach, has relinquished No. 45. Terry Mulholland bought Ullger an entire set of golf clubs when the veteran lefthander came to the Twins in 2004.
Bartlett in outfield
Jason Bartlett on Wednesday will take fly balls in the outfield in his quest to return after a 1½-year layoff.
“I have never played the outfield, on any level,” he said.
That includes Little League. The 34-year-old is learning new tricks as he tries to make the team as a nonroster invite.
Eduardo Escobar, who is also trying to make the club, will get some outfield work as well. Manager Ron Gardenhire needs versatility from his reserves, especially if the Twins carry 13 pitchers and have a three-man bench.
Here are the pitching lineups for Thursday morning’s intrasquad game at the Lee County Sports Complex.
Team A: Kevin Correia, Vance Worley, Trevor May, Kris Johnson, Logan Darnell and Yohan Pino.
Team B: Phil Hughes, Kyle Gibson, Anthony Swarzak, Brooks Raley, Lester Oliveros and Deolis Guerra.
Lefthander Scott Diamond will start Saturday’s game against Boston, the Hammond Stadium opener for the Twins. So it looks like Ricky Nolasco should start the Grapefruit League opener on Friday vs. the Red Sox across town.
• Catcher Josmil Pinto (back) did some drills Tuesday. Second baseman Brian Dozier (back) participated in all drills. First baseman/outfielder Chris Parmelee (right wrist) is good to go. “I have no restrictions other than Pinto for Thursday’s game,” Gardenhire said.
• Gardenhire was asked about giving Joe Mauer the green light on the basepaths. “If I give it to him, he’s not afraid to try,” he said. “He’ll run, and he’ll pick out his pitch. I think being out from behind the plate will help his legs and his body.”
2013 stats: 6-6, 2.61 ERA in 15 starts at Class AA New Britain and 4-4, 4.26 in 12 games at Class AAA Rochester.
Acquired: Sixth-round pick in 2010.
Role: Starter at Rochester.
Did you know? He was teammates with Andrew Albers his freshman year and Alex Meyer his junior year at Kentucky.
La VELLE E. NEAL III