The hitters were in workout gear and surrounded by a batting cage. The pitcher threw from behind a protective L-screen. It was simulated baseball at its best Tuesday.
But it was the first time Glen Perkins has faced hitters since early April of 2016. He ended that 14-plus-month void by throwing to a couple of hitters in the latest step of his comeback from shoulder surgery.
“It felt good,” he said. “It was something where I needed the adrenaline to move it along.”
The radar gun was not on as Perkins faced Chris Gimenez and Ehire Adrianza, so it was difficult to tell how hard he threw. Perkins threw fastballs, including his sinker, and saved his slider for another day. Gimenez did homer twice against Perkins but still was impressed how he looked.
“He threw some two-seamers that had some late action,” Gimenez said of Perkins’ sinker.
Between warming up in the bullpen and the batting practice session, Perkins said he threw 40 pitches.
“I felt better coming out of it than I anticipated,” he said. “So that was a good hurdle for me to clear. I did feel good, and how I felt is going to allow me to push it further on Friday.”
Perkins then started packing for Fort Myers, Fla., where he will enter the next phase of his rehabbing a torn labrum. He’ll throw a few more sessions similar to Tuesday’s before increasing his activity. Eventually, the three-time All-Star will pitch in extended spring training games and start a final push toward returning to the majors.
Perkins said he’s going to start working on his slider.
“We’re going to get him a few more situations of doing similar things [as Tuesday] and maybe expand it to some game situations where he has to run around and cover bases, hold runners and do all those things and then get him into some games eventually,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “But [Tuesday] was a good step.”