FORT MYERS, FLA. – The change began last August, when Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson approached a struggling Jose Berrios about altering his workout plan. Berrios is a model of physical fitness but was starting develop a pattern of wearing down during the second half of the season.
Berrios immediately changed some of his routine between starts, had positive results and finished 14-8 with a 3.68 ERA. He threw 200⅓ innings, 15th most in baseball.
Then he altered his offseason workout program to incorporate more exercises that are designed to help build his stamina and allow him to be effective late in the season.
“We try to figure out what is best for me and what could help myself,” Berrios said. “I don’t want to go through that again. I want to start fresh and end fresh this year.”
After posting an 8.07 ERA from the first week of August through the first week of September, Berrios had a 3.08 ERA the rest of the way. Johnson talked with Berrios in August after Berrios absorbed a few rough outings. Now he hopes his offseason program will lead to sustained success.
Berrios changed a few things outside of the gym as well. He began reading and spent more time with his family during the offseason.
“Now I’m trying to work my mind,” he said.
His workouts and mound sessions used to be plastered on social media, but he did very little of that this past offseason.
“I still work out,” Berrios said. “The only thing I change is time spent to figure out the camera.”
Now there are two
In addition to righthander Fernando Romero, infielder Wilfredo Tovar also is not in camp because of visa/immigration issues.
Tovar batted .193 in 31 games for the Angels last season but .321 with Class AAA Salt Lake. He’s mostly a second baseman but can play third.
Romero, who has a chance to make the club as a reliever, has now missed six workouts. The Twins to hope to get some clarity on his case in the next couple of days.
Live batting practice
The first full-squad workout meant the beginning of live batting practice, where hitters’ timing is off and pitchers have the advantage.
The Twins, who prefer to create conditions as close to the real thing as possible, had their pitchers throw without any screens on the field. There were no problems with batters getting hit or pitchers getting drilled with comebackers. In most cases, the hitters just stood in the batter’s box and tracked pitches as they came across the plate. Righthander Tyler Duffey, for instances, faced five hitters, but only one, Eddie Rosario, took swings against him.
The Twins have sold 36,000 tickets for their home opener on April 2 against Oakland, so 2,500 seats remain available. And only a limited number of $49-per-month access passes are available. The pass allows for standing-room access and the opportunity to upgrade to an available seat on a game-by-game basis.
Edwar Colina, pitcher
Acquired: Signed as an undrafted free agent on Sept. 29, 2015.
Role: Starter at Class AA Pensacola with a chance to move to Rochester. Could land in bullpen if he can’t develop a usable offspeed pitch.
Did you know? Edwar Osnel de la Cruz Colina Orozco throws a fastball that reaches 97 miles per hour frequently as well as a solid slider. The Twins left him unprotected for the Rule 5 draft, but he was passed on by the 29 other clubs.
La VELLE E. NEAL III