SARASOTA, FLA. – Ricky Nolasco's biggest problem Sunday, the Twins righthander said, was timing.
"I picked the wrong day to give up fly balls," Nolasco said after pitching one bad inning and five good ones, helping the Twins hold on for a 6-5 victory over the Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium. "I've been getting ground balls all spring. Today I give up fly balls, and the wind is blowing."
Adam Jones hit a 76-mph curveball over the center field fence in the first inning, a two-run shot, and Travis Snider followed immediately with a solo home run to right. But Nolasco bounced back by retiring the next 10 batters, and the Twins rallied on home runs of their own by Eric Fryer and Oswaldo Arcia.
"I thought he did really well," manager Paul Molitor said. "It was a nice response to kind of a rough first inning."
Fryer, trying to make the team as a backup catcher, pounded a Miguel Gonzalez pitch deep into the lef field seats in the second inning, his first home run of the spring. That scored Arcia, who had doubled. Four innings later, Arcia matched him by smashing a pitch from Baltimore minor leaguer David Hess beyond the center field fence, scoring Kennys Vargas.
Pinto still ailing
Josmil Pinto was tested under baseball's concussion protocol Sunday in hopes he can be cleared to return to action Monday. Considering the Twins have only six Grapefruit League games left, it's becoming less likely that Pinto, who failed the concussion test Friday after being hit on the head by Jones' follow-through on March 19, will be ready to start the season next week.
"It's getting tougher," Molitor said. "There hasn't been a lot of playing time for that young man. We're going to have to make that decision."
Even if Pinto is cleared by Monday, Molitor pointed out, he would be reluctant to use the catcher, who turns 26 on Tuesday, every day. "We have to see how much work he's going to be able to handle in the short term," Molitor said. "You don't want to put him up there every day when he hasn't played much. That's not good."
If Pinto winds up at Class AAA Rochester to start the season, the Twins would have to choose either Fryer and Chris Herrmann as the backup catcher.
The Twins must inform reliever Blaine Boyer on Monday whether he has made the team, and he has the right to walk away if the answer is no. Boyer arguably has been the best reliever in camp, allowing no runs in six of his seven appearances and posting an ERA of 1.69. He's virtually certain to be added to the 25-man roster.
Outfielder Shane Robinson has a similar opt-out clause that triggers Thursday.
The first of three final-week night games takes the Twins across town to JetBlue Park to face the Red Sox. Kyle Gibson will make his last tune up for the regular season, facing Justin Masterson.