La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Twins recap: Twins win the B game

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: March 2, 2012 - 5:42 AM

The Twins won 6-5 on Thursday in a B game played at Hammond Stadium. It was the end of a very long day for the coaching staff, which ran the rest of the team through drills before the B game. That included a simulated game during which manager Ron Gardenhire worked on various scenarios.

``We had good stuff in the morning,'' Gardenhire said .``We had a good day today. We had a lot of stuff going on, a lot of action, we had some simulated game, which went real well, then the ballgame today is just getting them out there and getting them on the field. Everything went good.''

Nine pitchers were scheduled to throw an inning on Thursday. The only one to struggle with that was righthander Carlos Gutierrez, who lasted just two-thirds of an inning. He gave up two runs on one hit and three walks.

``“For the most part the guys threw the ball over the plate,'' Gardy said. ``Gutierrez was misfiring, didn’t make any adjustments. Velocity’s good but you’ve got to make adjustments; you’ve got to step back and throw the ball over the plate. He stopped the game; I think we all saw that, and that’s what we don’t want. We don’t want people to stop the game.

``First time out, maybe he’s a little nervous, but he’s better than that. He’s been pitching at the high levels here and he’s got to do a little better than that. He’s got to pick up the pace of the game and throw the ball over. He throws the out of the ball. That was really the only hard part of the day. The rest of the guys threw pretty good; they went at it.''
 

Other highlights from Thursday:

  • Shortstop Brian Dozier and designated hitter Brian Dinkelman, who each had two hits, and first baseman Aaron Bates, who hit a two-run homer.
  • The Twins ran through a few game situations on another field before the B game. It allowed them to brush up on all the drills they've worked on over the past week and a half. Pitchers faced hitters, and Gardenhire stopped play at times to send baserunners on the field to go over scenarios. Trevor Plouffe did hit a home run to center field during the simulated game. On the play, Denard Span crashed into the center field fence. Span missed significant time last year with a concussion. Gardenhire's first thought: ``That the heck is going on,'' he said. Span, who had a swollen lip, waved off Gardenhire as he went onto the field. ``He told me, `I just have a fat face,' '' Gardenhire said.
  • Righthander Carl Pavano will start Saturday's spring training opener against Tampa Bay at Hammond Stadium. Righthander Terry Doyle will start on Sunday at JetBlue Park against Boston in one of the split-squad games. Lefthander Francisco Liriano will travel to Port Charlotte and face the Rays in the other game.
  • Still no word from righthander Joel Zumaya on if he will retire or have Tommy John elbow surgery and try to salvage his career. He has had five surgeries in his career.
  • The umpires for the B game were about an hour late because of a mixup.Twins third base coach Steve Liddle put on catcher's gear and called balls and strikes while a member of the grounds crew worked second base. The umpires eventually showed up. But when Ray Chang was called out on strikes in the third inning - on a questionable call - fans began cheering for Liddle to be brought back.

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