Was it a meeting? A congregation. A conference? Twins manager Paul Molitor said he wasn’t sure how to categorize the assembly he had with his team at second base before Thursday’s game against the Indians.
But it was the kind of move Molitor felt he needed to make to remind the Twins about a few facets of their performance they needed to tighten as they entered this four-game series with the Cleveland Indians.
“There were some things I wanted to generally address but I also wanted to get specific about one thing that was lacking,” Molitor said, without divulging what that “thing” was. “It was a combination of teaching and maybe just checking in with where we’re at.”
Some of the meeting focused on improving the baserunning. Molitor said he had the meeting not to dress down the team but to provide some constructive reinforcement.
“Most of my meetings over the last three years have been relatively positive,” Molitor said. “I try to find something to build on instead of tear down. … To me, it’s not always about getting walked off, it’s about something that happened in the third inning we screwed up that gave us a chance to score a run.”
Second baseman Brian Dozier took another opportunity to build on the meeting Thursday, writing “5:30 clubhouse” on a whiteboard outside the clubhouse before Friday’s game. Dozier said he did not like the connotation of the term “meeting.”
“At this level, meetings are always considered a negative, but it also can be very positive,” Dozier said. “You don’t ever want to over ‘meet,’ so to speak. This has nothing to do with performance by any means. That’s what gets blown out of proportion. It’s little things behind the scenes to clean up.”
Dozier wanted to make sure the team wasn’t trying to do too much after its recent struggles. Molitor said sometimes the message coming from both players and coaches can drive home important points to younger players.
“It plays well when there are a lot of leadership guys in here who call people out when they need to get called out, picking guys up when they need to get picked up,” Molitor said. “There are a lot of things players respond to from other players maybe as well, if not better, than a coach or a manager. Both can be fruitful.”
Polanco back on field
Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco, serving an 80-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, is playing in a couple extended spring training games a week while working out on the other days.
Since Polanco is in Fort Myers, Fla., for a while — he can return to the Twins lineup July 2, barring rainouts — he is making the best of the situation.
The Twins designed a plan for him to improve his throwing. They hope his arm is a little stronger and more accurate once he returns to the lineup.
Lindor lighting it up
Shortstop Francisco Lindor carried the Indians on Thursday with two home runs and two doubles. It was his second game with that boxscore this year, making him only the fourth player ever to hit two doubles and two home runs twice in one season.
Twins starter Jake Odorizzi saw Lindor crush three different pitches of his — a four-seam fastball and splitter on the doubles and a slider on the home run.
“I tried doing something different the third at bat than I did the first two,” Odorizzi said. “But it ended up being worse than the first two.”
Staff writer La Velle E. Neal III contributed to this report.