FORT MYERS, FLA. – Twins relievers spent Wednesday morning imagining what would it be like to ride into games in a motorized cart.
“Heck yes,” Tyler Duffey said when asked if he would ride in one.
The Arizona Diamondbacks announced Tuesday that it would use a cart, bringing back memories from yesteryear when the vehicles were used in most ballparks. The Twins confirmed they are considering using carts this season.
Pitchers, home and away, will have the option of running to the mound on their own. But the Diamondbacks’ move might lead to more teams turning to motorized vehicles to get pitchers from the bullpen to the mound as quickly as possible.
“I think it would be kind of cool to ride in the cart,” Taylor Rogers said. “If they think it’s better for time, then it helps.”
Duffey, Ryan Pressly and Trevor Hildenberger engaged in cart-related banter, joined at times by Zach Duke and Addison Reed.
They wanted to know if the Twins would use a cart or a car? Could they drive themselves? Could they make a rookie drive? Could they have bullpen coach Eddie Guardado drive? Will the route take them past the visitor’s dugout?
“I’d love to drive,” Hildenberger said.
“I’m down for Hildy driving me in,” Pressly responded.
The pitchers believe it’s a good idea that needs to happen. They pointed out the sponsorship opportunities would be too great to pass up.
“A car dealer would have to be all over that,” Duffey said. “ I know of one in particular. It’s starts with the letter ‘M’.”
Morrison leaves game
Logan Morrison started at first base while Joe Mauer was the designated hitter. Morrison collected singles in each of his first two at-bats before leaving the game before the bottom of the third inning with right gluteus tightness. The Twins removed him from the game, being cautious with their new slugger.
“He wanted to keep playing and we just didn’t want to put him out there,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Don’t think it’s anything major. We’ll check back with him on Friday and see where he’s at.”
With the scheduled off day Thursday, Morrison will have about 40 hours to recover before the Twins decide if he can play against his former Tampa Bay team in Port Charlotte. Chances are they will wait until Saturday to play him.
Rosario resting arm
Outfielder Eddie Rosario missed his third consecutive game as he recovers from mild tendonitis in the right triceps area. Rosario reported the issue after coming out of the game Sunday against Pittsburgh.
“I didn’t feel anything while throwing,” Rosario said. “I’m a little tired, my arm is a little tired and it is just resting for these few days and I’m just trying to be healthy for the beginning of the season.”
Twins General Manager Thad Levine said Rosario, who is batting .231 with one homer in spring training games, does not have any structural damage and is considered day to day.
“[Doctors] just think it’s an irritation,” Levine said.
Lefthander Dietrich Enns and righthander Felix Jorge were optioned to Class AAA Rochester, righthander Zack Littell and lefthander Lewis Thorpe were optioned to Class AA Chattanooga and catchers Wynston Sawyer and Brian Navarreto were reassigned to the minor league camp as the Twins made their first spring training cuts. The Twins now have 53 players in camp with three weeks until Opening Day.
Santana begins rehab
Ervin Santana’s finger surgery barely left a mark. The righthander displayed his healing right hand in the Twins’ clubhouse, and the spot where Dr. Charles Melone cut in order to remove calcification from the knuckle appears more sunburned than scarred.
“I feel good. Better every day,” the Twins’ top starter said. “I’m going to play long toss on Friday, and a bullpen next Monday,” Santana declared. Is that the Twins’ schedule? “That’s my plan,” Santana said with a smile. “[I’m a] fast healer.”
According to Levine, the Twins intend to bring Santana along slowly, with the intention of activating him in late April or early May. Right now, Santana is doing strengthening and range of motion exercises.
“[He’s] probably a step or two away from throwing,” Levine said.
• Reliever Michael Kohn has been diagnosed with a nerve injury in the right shoulder area and will miss four to six months. The injury requires rest and rehabilitation, not surgery. Kohn was injured while delivering a pitch Feb. 28 during a game against Houston and flew to Rochester on Sunday to be examined at the Mayo Clinic.
Thursday is the first of two scheduled off days during spring training. The Twins will return to action Friday, facing Tampa Bay in Port Charlotte.