FORT MYERS, FLA. – For a guy who has worked his way up through the Twins system as a potential star shortstop, Nick Gordon sure is playing a lot of second base this spring.
Gordon, the Twins first-round pick in 2014, appeared in his third Grapefruit League game in five days Tuesday, and all of them have been as a second baseman. “He’s getting some good innings in,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said of the 22-year-old prospect, who has manned second base only 16 times in four minor league seasons. “He’s got to be open-minded about playing around a little bit, to keep his doors open.”
His defensive position won’t matter much if he keeps hitting this way, though. Gordon whacked a 97-mph fastball from Red Sox righthander Ty Buttrey in the third inning Tuesday and easily turned it into a run-scoring triple.
“Your timing on high velocity is one of the last things to come, so for him to turn on that ball” was impressive, Molitor said. “It looked like he was thinking triple out of the box, which is really good to see, especially in a one-out situation.”
It was Gordon’s second extra-base hit of the spring; he doubled Friday, also against Boston.
“You can tell he knows what he’s doing in the box,” Molitor said. “The ball jumps off his bat. We’ve seen that more than a couple of times early.”
Morrison to arrive soon
There is a locker in the Twins clubhouse with Logan Morrison’s name on it, and a jersey hangs in it. The new slugger is expected to undergo his physical exam Wednesday, the last step before making his signing to a one-year, $6.5 million contract (with an option for 2019) official.
With few uniform numbers available now that camp has begun, Morrison has decided to wear No. 99, at least for spring training. He could claim another number once the 25-man roster is whittled down, but if he keeps 99 during the regular season, it would be the highest number ever worn by a Twins player, a distinction that currently belongs to Tony Batista’s No. 77 in 2006.
• For the first time in their history, all 162 Twins games will be televised this season, the team announced. Fox Sports North will broadcast 154 games, FS1 will carry six games nationally, and ESPN has two games on its schedule, both in April.
• Trevor May and Michael Pineda each made progress this week in their respective comebacks from Tommy John elbow surgery. May, who hopes to return to Minnesota by early June, mixed in some changeups for the first time during a 35-pitch bullpen session Monday. And Pineda, targeting a late-season return to action, played catch from 75 feet Tuesday.
The Twins will divide their roster in half Wednesday, with one squad, featuring the spring debuts of Joe Mauer and Miguel Sano, remaining in Fort Myers to face the Rays, while the other group buses to West Palm Beach to face the Astros. Aaron Slegers will pitch in Hammond Stadium, while Stephen Gonsalves will start for the traveling squad, about 20 of whom will remain on the Atlantic coast overnight in order to face the Cardinals in Jupiter on Thursday, a rare two-day spring road trip.