FORT MYERS, FLA. – If it makes sense, or has the potential to work, Randy Dobnak is willing to try it.
Take Monday, when Dobnak tried to corral the latest iteration of his slider. Things didn’t go well when he labored in the third inning, or an inning later, when he gave up a leadoff homer to Austin Dean.
The Twins ended up losing 3-0 to St. Louis at Hammond Stadium. And Dobnak will head back to the bullpen to tinker with his slider.
“I was talking a little bit to [pitching coach] Wes Johnson about it,” he said. “He said they were just coming out of my hand as a ball rather than a strike than falling off the plate. That’s why they weren’t chasing it.”
Dobnak is not afraid to tinker with a different grip if he has to. “I did it last year, actually,” he said. “I was down in Fort Myers and my slider didn’t do anything. And I was working with like 15 different grips, and I finally found one. It was actually midgame in Chattanooga when I found the grip that I use now. But now we’re trying to use a little variation to it. Just throwing it in the bullpen and throwing with it in catch play and stuff like that. And then taking it to the game.”
After two scoreless innings, Dobnak gave up a run in the third on an RBI groundout by John Nogowski before Dean’s blast in the fourth. Edmundo Sosa scored an unearned run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth to make it 3-0. Sergio Romo was on the mound at the time.
Twins hitters struggled against Cardinals starter Kwang Hyun Kim, who had his offspeed stuff working during three innings, and Daniel Ponce de Leon pitched five shutout innings. The Twins were shut out for the second time this spring.
La VELLE E. NEAL III