ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. – Pedro Florimon was not in the starting lineup Wednesday; manager Ron Gardenhire went with Eduardo Escobar at shortstop.
It’s no secret that the Twins would like to give Eduardo Nunez a chance to take over the position, mostly because of Florimon’s .140 batting average. It’s also doesn’t help when Florimon, normally a good defensive player, makes mistakes in the field, like he did in the first inning on Tuesday when he missed Matt Joyce’s popup in the midst of the three-run inning for the Rays.
“He didn’t lose it in the roof,’’ Gardenhire said. “He just missed it. That’s an error.’’
Nunez, who was acquired from the Yankees on April 7 and sent to Class AAA Rochester, was up last Thursday as the 26th man for a doubleheader against Toronto, then sent back to Rochester. Nunez could have been called up this week for a long look, but Sunday he reported a strained left oblique muscle. He was scratched from the lineup that day and hasn’t returned.
But Nunez took full batting practice Tuesday and might be close to returning to the lineup.
“I think they were going to hold him out one more day and make sure everything is OK,’’ Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said.
Once Nunez gets a few games in and proves he’s healthy, he should be a candidate to be called up.
Reason to be careful
Rays lefthander David Price could have been seriously injured Tuesday when Joe Mauer’s line drive struck him in the groin area.
In 1997, Seattle pitcher Josias Manzanillo needed emergency surgery after a Manny Ramirez line drive struck him below the belt. He, unlike Price, wasn’t wearing a protective cup.
Opinions on the protective gear vary among Twins pitchers. Brian Duensing and Jared Burton wear protective cups. Casey Fein and Anthony Swarzak don’t. Swarzak stopped wearing one after his first professional season because it was uncomfortable when he ran. But he might change his mind.
“After that incident, I’m seriously considering going back to it,’’ Swarzak said.
Buxton makes progress
Outfielder Byron Buxton went through a normal pregame workout and is on track to play three innings in an extended spring training game Monday. Buxton has been out since March 16 because of a sprained left wrist. The area affected is called the pisotriquetral joint, known to be slow to heal. Buxton will spend the rest of the work going through regular pregame activities before starting extended spring training games.
Oswaldo Arcia will take some swings in the batting cage Thursday as he recovers from a strained right wrist. Josh Willingham, out because of a small broken bone in his left wrist, is still waiting for the soreness to go away before he tries to hit. Antony said the goal is for both outfielders to take batting practice on the field Tuesday, before the Twins play host to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Righthander Matt Guerrier has been promoted to Class AAA Rochester while he continues his comeback from flexor mass surgery last season. Guerrier gave up one unearned run over four innings at Class AA New Britain over three appearances, allowing four hits and two walks and striking out five. The Twins are pleased with his velocity and quality of his pitches. “He looks like Matt Guerrier,’’ Antony said. “The delivery hasn’t changed, the arm action hasn’t changed.’’