FORT MYERS, FLA. – For a guy who is determined to throttle down a bit in the spring in order to feel more rested in the fall, Jose Berrios sure looked like he was in midsummer form on Sunday.
Berrios faced six Blue Jays batters in his Grapefruit League debut, struck out the last four, and hit 95 miles per hour with his fastball in the Twins’ 5-5 tie with Toronto.
“We’re in spring training, but my mind-set is on the regular season,” Berrios said after his 28-pitch outing, which was supplemented with another dozen or so in the bullpen afterward. “I always have big goal for myself [and] one of the most important for me right now is to be fresh and strong from the first day to day 162.”
That won’t be easy, Berrios admitted, because his instincts are always to work even harder, an ethic that has produced back-to-back trips to the All-Star Game, but also ERAs more than a run higher after those showcases than before. He is confident, though, that additional rest between games, and new recovery techniques aided by technology — his shoulder was twitching from an electrical stimulation device as he spoke — will give him the energy he needs in August and September.
“ I like to work hard every day, so that’s going to be a big change for me,” Berrios said. “They call me La Machina not because of the way I pitch out there, they call me La Machina because of how I train. But the tools we use for our recovery, it’s going to help me to be in fresh condition.”
Twins fans got their first glimpse of free agent prize Josh Donaldson on Sunday, and though he had a quiet day — two ground outs and a strikeout — he said it was a good start.
“It was good to be out there, nice to get a little sweat, a little dirt on the spikes,” Donaldson said. “I feel like everybody in here has been open [and] welcomed me with open arms.”
Donaldson said he’s in good shape already, and credits his new diet for at least part of that. About 17 months ago, he said, he switched to a nearly vegetarian diet, and has stuck with it.
“It’s tough. I grew up in the South. Every now and again, I’ll eat fish or something like that, but I’d say 95 percent of my diet is plant-based,” Donaldson said. “It’s difficult at times … [but] it’s definitely been beneficial for me, so that’s why I’ve continued to do it.”
• Nelson Cruz will play in Monday’s game with the Red Sox, Rocco Baldelli confirmed. Cruz was hit on the wrist by a Cody Stashak pitch on Wednesday and suffered a bruise that has limited his work for the past few games. But the wrist has healed, and Cruz asked to return to action.
• Baldelli is recovering from an injury of his own, too. The Twins manager was reunited with his dog, Bowie, when fiancée Allie Genoa arrived in Fort Myers on Saturday night. In his excitement, the dog nipped Baldelli’s lip and caused it to bleed so much, the manager feared he would require stitches.
• The Twins will meet with Major League Players Association President Tony Clark on Monday, in order to receive a briefing on negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement — the current one expires after the 2021 season — and discuss MLB’s investigation into cheating by the Astros and other teams. Among other matters, the team must elect a new player representative to replace the departed Kyle Gibson.
The Twins meet their fellow Fort Myers residents, the Red Sox, at Hammond Stadium, in a game that will feature the Twins debut of new starter Kenta Maeda. Righthander Nathan Eovaldi will start for Boston.