FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was a good day for a quartet of outfielders fighting to make the Twins’ Opening Day roster.
Aaron Hicks went 2-for-2 during the Twins’ 7-6 victory over Minnesota, bringing his spring average to .417 (5 for 12) and helping him put his baserunning mistakes in the past. Hicks was pulled from Tuesday’s game after losing track of the outs, and manager Paul Molitor said he was interested in how the third-year outfielder would respond. So far, so good.
Meanwhile, Shane Robinson collected two hits as well, including Minnesota’s only double. “You look at him, he’s not a very big guy at all,” general manager Terry Ryan said, “but he can put a good at-bat together.”
Chris Herrmann did the same in the eighth inning, with the go-ahead run on third base. Herrmann played first base, not outfield, on Thursday as Molitor tests his versatility, but Herrmann homered as the team’s left fielder one day earlier. This time, he fell behind 0-and-2 against lefthander Andrew McKirahan, but didn’t give up on the at-bat.
“Facing the lefthander, where you need to get the ball deep enough to get the run in, he got behind but he was able to stay in there and muscle that ball out there,” Molitor said. Hitting coach Tom Brunansky “was yelling a lot of encouragement during that at-bat,” Molitor said, so he was happy that Herrmann “received positive reinforcement after getting the job done.”
Also getting the job done: Eddie Rosario, who continued to impress Molitor with his bat speed, fearlessness — and maturity. Rosario also had two hits, driving in a run with the first one. Even better, both of his singles came against left-handed pitching.
“We’ve always said, this guy’s going to hit, wherever he’s at. I like how he’s gone about his work. I’ve been around enough to know that wasn’t one of his strong suits coming through the organization,” said Molitor, who worked with Rosario as the organization’s roving minor-league instructor. “The ability to hit, a lot of people are confident that’s going to happen eventually. He stays in there against lefties really well. “
And his attitude has been a refreshing change, Molitor said of the 23-year-old Puerto Rican. “Sometimes we had to challenge him to take all of his at-bats seriously,” Molitor said. “But you knew if it was a big situation, he was going to bring his A game.”