CLEARWATER, FLA. – Twins righthander Trevor May admits he is a tinkerer, constantly analyzing his own form and motion in hopes of finding the secret to major league success. Sometimes, he gets help spotting important details.
Like the way May would dig the baseball into his glove whenever he gripped his curveball, a minor habit that had the potential to turn into a major problem. That is, unless Torii Hunter and Paul Molitor hadn’t spotted it.
“He was doing certain things on certain pitches. And if I can see them when I’m not overly trying to study that stuff, you know it’s somewhat flagrant,” said Molitor, who confirmed what Hunter had also noticed. “You see it, you go confirm it on video and you show it to [pitchers], and they go, ‘Wow.’ … He’s found ways to correct the problem.”
May, who gave up one run and one hit in 2⅓ innings in the Twins’ 4-3 victory over Philadelphia on Friday, said he no longer closes his glove when preparing to throw a curve — or any pitch. “Even when I grip my curveball, my glove doesn’t move at all,” May said. “Some guys can go on autopilot and bad habits don’t come, but sometimes I fall into some patterns, not only with my mechanics but on little things.”
Well, until those nearly imperceptible tells are picked up by two retired ballplayers with good eyes. “Old habits are hard to break,” Molitor said, laughing.
No time to pack
Because Eddie Rosario has travel plans next week, Molitor has given the outfielder plenty of travel plans this week.
The 25-year-old Rosario served as the designated hitter Thursday in Sarasota, then patrolled center field in Clearwater a day later. He will get a day off Saturday but will come along to West Palm Beach, where he will play right field, on Sunday. That’s more than 600 miles of bus rides, round trip, but there’s a reason that Rosario has become the happy wanderer: He leaves on Monday for Scottsdale, Ariz., to join Team Puerto Rico for the World Baseball Classic.
“I’m just trying to get him ready for our season, obviously, but for the WBC, too. We’re trying to be mindful,” Molitor said.
Rosario has done nothing to weaken Molitor’s intention to make him the regular left fielder. His at-bats, the manager said, “are still a little streaky. He gets zoned in pretty good for a while, but then he might lose it for a day or two and chases back to where it might be problematic.”
But his defense is strong, and his versatility might be important, depending on the makeup of the Twins roster.
If J.B. Shuck, Zack Granite, Danny Santana or Drew Stubbs earns a roster spot, it’s not an issue because they can play center field. But if Robbie Grossman, the incumbent and current front-runner, retains his spot as the fourth outfielder, Rosario would likely shift to center whenever Byron Buxton isn’t in the lineup.
• Lefthander Mason Melotakis, sidelined by a strained right oblique, thew a 25-pitch bullpen session Friday and reported no recurrence of the soreness.
No Twins starter has been able to complete three innings before his 45-pitch limit runs out, but Ervin Santana gets his chance Saturday at Hammond Stadium. The Twins play host to Toronto in a game that will be televised on FSN.