FORT MYERS, Fla. – Ervin Santana knows he’s starting on Opening Day, so his up-and-down spring finale Wednesday didn’t bother him. ByungHo Park isn’t 100 percent certain where he will be on Monday, so he provided one more reminder of his potential, just in case.
Santana surrendered a couple of home runs among eight hits over 4 ⅔ innings, but Park’s sixth home run of the spring soared far beyond the faux Green Monster at JetBlue Park and completed Minnesota’s rally to a 5-3 victory over the Red Sox.
Park is likely to be added to the Twins’ 40-man roster on Thursday, the winner of a competition with Kennys Vargas to capture the designated hitter role he held, then lost, last season. He punctuated his strong spring performance — a .353 average, and Twins-leading home run (six) and RBI (13) totals — with a tape-measure blast on consecutive days, Wednesday’s carrying over the heads of Red Sox fans stationed atop the left field wall. That home run broke a 3-3 tie, and eventually turned the Governors Cup competition between Fort Myers’ two spring teams into a 3-3 tie as well.
“He was all over that fastball,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “He’s had a nice run here. It doesn’t seem to matter [if pitchers are] right or left, he’s taking good at-bats.”
Meanwhile, Santana retired only 12 of the 21 hitters he faced, as he prepared for his second straight Opening Day assignment, but he pronounced himself pleased with how his pitches looked. Xander Bogaerts and Pablo Sandoval connected on home runs, but the veteran righthander wasn’t charged with another run, despite allowing six other hits, until after he had departed in the fifth inning.
“I just take the positives out of it,” the righthander said. “They were swinging at every first pitch, so I just change my delivery, threw sliders first pitch. It was good.”
Craig Breslow pitched a scoreless inning against his former Red Sox teammates, and Matt Belisle and Brandon Kintzler each got three quick outs on their second straight day on the mound.