FORT MYERS, FLA. – Righthander Jose Berrios is faced with two challenges in camp as he tries to win a job in the Twins rotation but is leaving in a week to pitch for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic.
“I’m definitely preparing myself for the WBC,” Berrios said. “At the same time it is the same routine. But I work a little bit harder to get ready for the WBC.”
Sunday, he gave up a run over two innings during the Twins’ 5-2 victory over Washington. He struggled some in the third inning as he ran into some deep counts. The fourth inning was better despite giving up a leadoff walk to Stephen Drew. Berrios got a groundout, then struck out two to get out of the inning. He did hit 96 miles per hour on the radar gun Sunday.
“His fastball was alive,” manager Paul Molitor said. “I thought he threw a couple good changeups. We’re just kind of watching how he handles himself early in camp as he’s gotta get ready for his WBC. [He’s] very smart about picking up on the experiences of last year and try to apply them to make himself better this time.”
The Twins will be allowed to be in contact with Berrios while he’s away with Team Puerto Rico for the WBC, and Berrios is expected to remain on his normal progression to be ready for Opening Day.
Danny Santana is listed as an outfielder, and the days of him being considered a shortstop option appear to be long gone.
Or maybe not.
Santana was seen taking grounders at second base before Sunday’s game and, sure enough, Santana replaced Brian Dozier there in the sixth. It was a reminder that Santana can be used in the outfield or infield, which suggests he could help out at short if needed.
“He’s gone out early in the mornings,” Molitor said. “Most of the defensive drills have been in the outfield. If you have to tip the scale, it has probably been a little more outfield-related. The seed was planted with him early that I need him to stay sharp because I’m going to need him to play around. So happens that second base was the fit today.”
Castro crushes one
New Twins catcher Jason Castro can provide some power, like he did when he bashed a changeup from A.J. Cole for a two-run homer Sunday. Molitor was asked if he was looking forward to seeing that about 15 times this season. At least that many, Molitor said.
“We were interested in him for a lot of reasons that have been well-documented,” Molitor said. “I’m hoping we can find a way to draw out a little more, in terms of his contributions offensively.”
• Lefthander Glen Perkins threw 20 pitches Sunday, and the three-time All-Star continues his rebound from shoulder surgery.
• Dozier, playing for the first time this spring, made it 5-1 when he raced home on a groundout in the bottom of the third inning.
• Righthander Fernando Romero, who pitched at Class A Fort Myers last season, was impressive, striking out two in an inning of work while hitting 98 on the gun three times.
Ervin Santana will take the mound Monday against Miami. He said most of his 30 pitches will be fastballs, but he wants to work on other pitches, too.