FORT MYERS, FLA. — Jordan Schafer takes pride in his stolen-base success rate, which is not a bad talent to have when you play for one of the best baserunners in history. That’s why Schafer (career stolen base percentage: .792) thought it necessary to pull Twins manager Paul Molitor (career stolen base percentage: .794) aside this week to reassure him.
“I always get thrown out a lot in the spring,” Schafer said. “I explained that to him yesterday.”
That’s because he’s still working on getting a good jump, using proper footwork, anticipating just the right moment to leap out of his crouch. As he does each spring, Schafer intends to try to steal second base virtually every time he gets on base, just for the practice. He’ll be a lot more discerning, the 28-year-old outfielder said, once he’s got his timing down.
“Stealing bases is an art, and it takes a while before you get entirely comfortable and can start picking your spots again,” said Schafer, who was on the field before 8 a.m. Thursday practicing his leadoffs and jumps. “By the end of spring training, I won’t get thrown out at all, hopefully.”
Schafer thought the mini-conference with Molitor, who was 32-for-32 on the bases in 1994-95, was necessary Wednesday since his new manager has never seen him in the spring, and since he was thrown out twice by two Tampa Bay catchers, bringing him to 1-for-4 this spring. “That’s only happened once before,” Schafer said of the twice-foiled day. “When the season starts, 80 percent is my goal. But I’d like to get it to 90.”
Arcia still ailing
Oswaldo Arcia’s wife, Karla, is here, cooking for him every day. But it hasn’t helped yet, Arcia says.
“Still not good,” the left fielder said, pointing to his stomach. “Everything I [consume], food, juice, whatever — I go right in there,” he said, pointing to the bathroom.
It’s been a week since Arcia came down with the flu that afflicted a half-dozen other teammates, and while he felt better over the weekend, the queasiness returned this week. Arcia hasn’t played since Monday, but he took batting practice Thursday and, if he’s up to it, will serve as the designated hitter Friday.
• Closer Glen Perkins will play catch Friday, according to General Manager Terry Ryan, to test the sore oblique muscles in his right side. “It’s not going to be on a mound,” Ryan said. “It’s flat ground, but he’s making progress.”
• Righthanded reliever Lester Oliveros, bothered by shoulder soreness,will throw in the bullpen Friday.
Dozier goes deep
Brian Dozier led off the first inning by clanging a home run off the left-field foul pole, his first homer of the spring. The second baseman, Minnesota’ home run leader the past two seasons, was asked if he expects eventually to develop home-run power to right field.
“I had a smart guy once tell me — Josh Willingham — [that] the shortest distance usually is to left field, so why would I try to hit to right?” Dozier said. “There’s more doubles over there than homers, put it that way.”
The Twins make their second visit to Bradenton this week, taking on the Pirates just four days after playing to a 1-1 tie on Monday. Ervin Santana makes his second start for Minnesota, against righthander Casey Sadler.