FORT MYERS, FLA. – If Jose Berrios pitches every five days for the rest of camp, he would be scheduled to start March 28. He has noticed.
“I want to pitch that day,” the All-Star said of the Twins’ season opener against the Indians at Target Field. “We’ve got a really good group, good pitchers in this clubhouse, but I put in my effort to be ready that day.”
Manager Rocco Baldelli said he and pitching coach Wes Anderson will be ready to finalize their pitching plans sometime this week. But he sounded impressed enough with Berrios’ start Sunday that any other decision would rate as a shock.
“He threw the ball very well. I thought he was sharp,” Baldelli said after Berrios gave up a ground-ball single, a bloop single and Andrew Romine’s two-run homer over 2⅔ innings in a 3-3 tie with the Phillies at Hammond Stadium. “He needed to get work and get stretched out a little bit. He came out feeling good.”
Strong, too, after reaching 96 miles per hour with his fastball, and happy about some mechanical adjustments that he is trying to get comfortable with. Berrios has tweaked his changeup delivery, and though he said he threw only four against Philadelphia, he’s satisfied with his progress.
Still a few bugs to work out, though. “Fastball in the middle. I made a mistake,” he said of Romine’s homer. “Behind in the count 2-1, then fastball [for a] foul ball, then fastball in the middle. I knew it right away. When he hit the ball, I say, ‘wow.’ ”
Berrios was replaced in the third inning by Pat Dean. Martin Perez, the veteran lefthander trying to earn a spot in the Twins rotation, then followed with three shutout innings, striking out four.
Granite dealt to Texas
Zack Granite got a new home, the Twins received bonus-cap room to sign another international prospect or two and a 20-year-old reliever from Ohio probably had a confusing afternoon.
Granite, the Twins Minor League Player of the Year in 2017, was traded to the Rangers, one week after the arrival of Marwin Gonzalez meant there was no longer a roster spot available for him. A 26-year-old outfielder, Granite batted .237 in a 40-game stint with the Twins in 2017, but was injured through much of 2018.
The Twins received righthander Xavier Moore, a 16th-round pick in 2017 who had posted a 4.54 ERA in 25 games in the Texas system, plus cash.
But Moore wasn’t with the Twins for long. Only three hours later, they flipped him to the Orioles in exchange $750,000 of Baltimore’s assigned limit on international signings. The acquisition means the Twins, who had essentially reached the limit of their international bonus limit, can spend that much more to sign players before July 1.
Gonsalves holds his own
Twins lefthander Stephen Gonsalves didn’t have the same fastball he had Wednesday, but managed to hold the Red Sox to one run over three innings Sunday. AL MVP Mookie Betts doubled twice off him, but he held three other righthanded regulars in Boston’s lineup hitless.
“He did a good job, especially with that lineup, the fact they ran out a good majority of their A squad,” said bench coach Derek Shelton, who managed the split-squad team in a 9-7 loss at JetBlue Park. “He gave up a couple hits to Mookie, but they give out MVP’s to guys for a reason. I thought he mixed his pitches well.”
After reaching 93 mph Wednesday against the Phillies, Gonsalves’ fastball was 88-91 mph Sunday. He struck out two and gave up a run on Mitch Moreland’s RBI single.
Kyle Gibson, slowed this spring as he recovers from a January bout with E.coli, makes his 2019 debut when the Orioles visit Monday.