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La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Berrios makes final start before Opening Day as Twins meet Orioles

    SARASOTA, Fla. — Jose Berrios will make his final start of the spring tonight at Ed Smith Stadium, and it’s clear he would like to fine-tune a few things. Berrios doesn’t have a scoreless start among his five tune-ups in Florida, and though he hasn’t pitched badly — batters are hitting just .224 against the Twins’ No. 1 starter — he hasn’t displayed his All-Star stuff yet, either.

    Berrios’ ERA stands at 4.60 for the spring, with 11 strikeouts and seven walks in 15 2/3 innings. The walks are the most concerning thing, of course, and the righthander will try to avoid adding to that total tonight.

    He’ll have a mostly complete starting lineup behind him, with only Jorge Polanco sitting out tonight’s game, with Ehire Adrianza — who has had an impressive camp, batting .400 with eight extra-base hits in 35 at-bats — handling shortstop.

    This is the Twins’ final road game of the spring. They return to Hammond Stadium on Sunday to face the Yankees, then play an intrasquad game with their Class AAA Rochester team on Monday and close Grapefruit League play on Tuesday against the Rockies.

    Here are the lineups for tonight’s game against Baltimore and Orioles righthander Alex Cobb:

TWINS

 

Kepler RF

Adrianza SS

Cruz DH

Rosario LF

Cron 1B

Gonzalez 3B

Schoop 2B

Castro C

Buxton CF

 

Berrios RHP

 

ORIOLES

 

Smith RF

Mancini LF

Davis 1B

Ruiz 3B

Nunez DH

Sisco C

Jackson SS

Peterson 2B

Diaz CF

 

Cobb RHP

Where's my glove? Cruz in Twins outfield today, Astudillo catching

FORT MYERS - A couple of things about today's Twins lineup as they face the Pirates at Hammond Stadium ...

Willians Astudillo is considered a catcher, but if you look at his defensive deployment last season, it paints somewhat of a different picture.

He caught in 39 games at Class AAA Rochester but played 42 games at other positions. Once promoted to the Twins, he caught in 16 games, appeared at other positions in 14 games. Despite being listed as a catcher, he's played there in 309 games of his 638-game minor league career.

If he's going to be on the major league club (and I expect him to head north with the team), he must be able hold his own behind the plate, especially calling games. I've heard the Twins have been working with Astudillo on his game management in camp. 

Follow today's play-by-play here.

As you see, he's behind the plate today with Michael Pineda as the Twins face the Pirates. Having a third catcher who can play some at third and the outfield - and hit a little - can be a handy tool to have on a bench.

The other thing to watch is Nelson Cruz in right field today. I don't expect him to play much in the outfield this year - and you shouldn't root for that, either - but the Twins have interleague series at Philadelphia and the Mets in early April, and the Twins will need some innings from him out there.

That's all for now. We expect another round of cuts after today's game, so stay tuned. Some of them could be interesting.

Pirates

Pablo Reyes, SS
JB Shuck, CF
Jose Osuna, RF
Kevin Newman, 2B
Patrick Kivlehan, 3B
Jacob Stallings, C
Lolo Sanchez, LF
Joe Musgrove, RHP

Twins

Max Kepler, DH
Jorge Polanco, SS
Nelson Cruz, RF
Eddie Rosario, LF
C.J. Cron, 1B
Marwin Gonzalez, 3B
Jonathan Schoop, 2B
Willians Astudillo, C
Byron Buxton, CF

Michael Pineda, RHP

Final, 3/23 R H E
Minnesota 14-12 8 10 1
Baltimore 12-15 7 9 0