A bright, 78-degree day in Fort Myers was the right setting, Joe Mauer decided on Tuesday, to begin his experiment with sunglasses.
Mauer, who admitted earlier this spring that he has occasionally experienced blurred vision at the plate in the two seasons since suffering a concussion, intends to shade his eyes during some day games, hoping to avoid a recurrence. But one of his first two games this spring was at night, and the other was on a cloudy afternoon, “so I didn’t think it made much sense to wear them.”
He tried a few different models in batting practice last week, Mauer said, but Tuesday’s game was the first time he wore them to the plate.
The result? The first baseman hit a hard grounder to second base in the first inning that the Cardinals turned into a double play, though a run scored. In the fourth inning, Mauer lined a double into the right-field corner, eventually scoring on Kennys Vargas’ sacrifice fly.
But the real result Mauer is looking for isn’t in the boxscore; it’s in his eyes and in his head. And he’s been happy with that this spring.
“I’m feeling good. No problems at all,” Mauer said. “Just want to keep it that way.”
A Toronto hex?
Tyler Duffey gave up five runs in the first inning on Tuesday, including a grand slam to Darrell Ceciliani on a fastball over the inner half of the plate. Duffey rallied to throw shutout innings in the second and third after allowing the first home run by a Twins pitcher this spring.
“I don’t like to say he got his work in,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Overall, the quality of his pitches and his arm strength was good. I was happy to see him throw his change-up. We all know he’s going to need it a little more than he did last year.”
The outing came against the same team that knocked him out of his major league debut on Aug. 5, scoring six runs off him over two innings.
So spring or summer, the Blue Jays score off Duffey. The righthander wasn’t concerned, as he came into the start working on his change-up and is working to be ready for Opening Day.
“I threw strikes today and felt good,” Duffey said. “I threw a lot of pitches over the plate. [Catcher John Ryan] Murphy and I thought I made some good ones that they still got some hits off of. I threw it where I wanted it, for the most part. Sometimes the results don’t say that.”
• Catcher Stuart Turner, slowed by a sore back, has been limited to swinging off a tee.
• Reliever Nick Burdi gave up a double in the eighth inning but held Toronto scoreless, hitting 97-99 miles per hour on the radar gun.
Lefthander Tommy Milone will make his second start of spring training Wednesday when the Twins play host to Philadelphia. Righthander Zach Eflin will start for the Phillies. First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m.
La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller