FORT MYERS, FLA. – Beyond the fence in left-center, beyond the berm that stretches behind it and elevated above the concourse — that’s where the Hammond Stadium scoreboard sits, out of reach of most hitters. But not Jonathan Schoop.
The Twins second baseman smashed a fastball from Victor Arano off that distant target, a cannon shot for his first home run of camp, in a 3-3 tie with Philadelphia.
“I’ve seen Jon hit balls like that many, many times,” manager Rocco Baldelli said of Schoop, who has hit 110 career home runs. “This is not your average second baseman. He can do some big things.”
Max Kepler also hit an opposite-field RBI single for the Twins, who led 3-2 with two out in the ninth inning. But minor league outfielder Jon Kemmer couldn’t locate former Twins infielder Gregorio Petit’s fly ball to right, and it fell for a two-base error. When Jake Scheiner followed with a grounder through the infield, the score was tied, and the teams chose not to play extra innings.
“These spring training games, they are a challenge every day,” Baldelli said. “The sky, the wind, the sun — I wouldn’t call it fun playing the outfield, especially late in spring games.”