ANAHEIM, CALIF. – Eddie Rosario’s 14th home run of the season moved him into a tie for fifth place in the AL. But if there was a signature Eddie Rosario moment in Thursday’s 16-7 Twins victory over the Angels, it came on a ball that traveled maybe 150 feet.
That’s how far Luis Arraez’s popup traveled in the second inning, a seemingly failed attempt to drive in a run. But Rosario, standing on third base, didn’t give up on the play.
Instead, he tagged up and shocked Angels shortstop Zack Cozart by sprinting home. Backpedaling on the play, Cozart took a moment to get a grip on the ball, then fired home, about 10 feet up the line as Rosario slid past.
“It takes aggressiveness, but it also takes good baseball decision-making out on the field,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “There are times where if you misjudge what’s going on and don’t see it properly, you’re out by a lot.”
Rosario takes pride in going all-out on the bases, though, and frequently startles fielders with his risk-taking.
“Obviously, it was a good read,” Baldelli said. “It’s not always easy to make a throw off your back foot when you’re going backward to make a catch. It doesn’t look overly challenging, but it’s a challenging play. And it was a good instinctual baseball play on our end.”
The way to travel these days
While the Twins scrambled to make arrangements to stay in Anaheim on Wednesday after their game was postponed, the Texas Rangers arrived in town. They open a weekend series here on Friday, but chose to travel to California a day earlier than necessary.
That’s becoming more common around baseball, and the Twins intend to join the trend this year, too. For instance, the team will fly to Florida on Tuesday immediately after its game with Milwaukee, even though they don’t play the Rays until Thursday.
“It’s something that allows players and staff to settle in and kind of let their bodies rest by getting to town early instead of pushing the travel back,” Baldelli said.
It’s a significant cost to the team, of course, since there are generally between 50 and 60 members of the traveling party, each of whom needs a hotel room and is paid a per diem for food. It’s also, in many cases, one less day spent at home — something that a few players might object to, Baldelli conceded.
That’s why the policy is optional, Baldelli said.
“Players can stay back and travel the next day if they choose. Guys do occasionally have obligations and can make their own flights on the side. If guys stay back, they are welcome to do that.”
A few members of the traveling party didn’t stay for Thursday’s game. Nelson Cruz flew back to the Twin Cities to prepare to be activated from the injured list, which could come as soon as Friday. Jose Berrios, scheduled to start vs. the White Sox on Friday, also went home to make sure he was rested.
Bench coach Derek Shelton missed the game in order to attend his son Jackson’s high school graduation in St. Petersburg, Fla. And FSN broadcaster LaTroy Hawkins was at his daughter Troi’s graduation in nearby Burbank, opening a one-day vacancy in the booth filled by, among others, Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey.
• The Twins had no comment about why Class AA pitcher Brusdar Graterol was at Target Field on Thursday, as he revealed on his Instagram account, other than to say he is not being called up. Graterol, widely considered the Twins’ top pitching prospect due to his 100 mph fastball, has a 1.89 ERA in nine starts this year for Pensacola.
• Max Kepler crashed into the center field wall while making a futile attempt to catch Brian Goodwin’s ninth-inning home run, and was removed from the game. Kepler was diagnosed with a bruised right knee, but it’s not considered serious.