FORT MYERS, Fla. – José Berríos faced only six hitters and threw only 26 pitches on Wednesday before coming out of his first start of the spring, but he didn't mind.
"I've got more in the tank, but that was our plan for today, two innings," he said.
His mind-set will change in four weeks.
While teams are being careful to ease pitchers into a normal workload, one summer after a season that lasted only nine weeks, Berríos has a workload benchmark in mind for himself: 200 innings.
"That's the plan, to throw more than 200 innings," said Berríos, who reached that objective, with one out to spare, in 2019. "Also, we came to play through the World Series, so I'm going to have a lot of innings. I'm preparing myself to do that."
His manager sounds willing to help him get there, especially if he returns to the form that has already earned him two spots on the American League All-Star team.
"He's had some stretches in his career that were spectacular. Stretching those periods of time out over the course of the season is a goal of his, something we actually talked about this offseason," Rocco Baldelli said. "He wants to take the next step in his career, from a really good major league pitcher to maybe even something else, which is very exciting. He has all the ability and all the intangibles to do that."
The news that the Twins' top minor-leaguers will spend April working out at CHS Field rather than playing Class AAA games there means that there's no need to cut players from the roster until the end of training camp.
But the Twins plan to anyway, Baldelli said, even though, since there's no minor league camp going on yet, the demoted players will continue simply to work with the big-league team.
"We're going to be making some moves," Baldelli said, "even though they might only be on paper."
The reason? Pitchers are currently using the clubhouse at their minor league complex in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 exposure should someone become infected, and Baldelli wants to change that as the season nears.
"Probably halfway through camp, [we want to] bring the major league group into one clubhouse, so we can really come together as we approach Opening Day," he said. "The way we're functioning right now is great, it's working just the way we wanted it to. But with some roster moves and send-downs will be the major league group coming together."
Spencer Steer, summoned over the weekend from his Los Angeles home to replace Royce Lewis on the Twins' 75-man camp roster, cleared virus protocols on Wednesday and immediately got into a game, serving as Luis Arraez's backup at second base. The Twins' third-round pick in 2019 struck out in his first at-bat of the spring.
The Twins might activate another player, too, after first baseman Chris Williams suffered a separated left shoulder during Tuesday's loss to the Braves.
Williams was removed from the roster, and "we'll see how he's feeling in a few days and see how that goes," Baldelli said. "I'm not sure if we're going to [replace him], but anything is possible because taking care of our players and having depth is a priority."
Cruz power expected
Baldelli on Nelson Cruz hitting a long home run in his first game of the spring: "A lot of guys, it takes an extended period of time, a lot of at-bats, to get ready and start to feel it, but I'm not surprised to see Nelly line a ball over the fence right there. That's just what he does."