SARASOTA, FLA. – The battle for roster spots among Twins’ position players heated up on Thursday. The battle among pitchers was considerably cooler.
Six of the Twins’ seven runs in their 7-6 victory the Orioles in a split-squad game at Ed Smith Stadium was driven in by a player trying to claim a spot on Minnesota’s bench over the final two weeks of camp. Michael Reed collected three singles, Willians Astudillo had a pair, Ronald Torreyes crushed a solo home run, Tyler Austin delivered a bases-loaded single and Jake Cave had lined an opposite-field double.
Each drove in a run — Cave’s screamer was a two-run blow that briefly gave the Twins a lead — and Minnesota ripped Dylan Bundy, last year’s Opening Day starter in Baltimore, for four runs over five innings.
“It’s good to see them making [roster decisions] hard on us,” said bench coach Derek Shelton, who managed the split-squad game. “When you have guys who are fighting for spots on the club, getting hits and driving in runs, that’s how you do it.”
The game-winning run, however, was provided by a player a few years from Minnesota: 20-year-old Class A outfielder Jacob Pearson, who singled home Triple-A infielder Drew Maggi in the ninth inning.
Chase De Jung gave up a leadoff homer to Cedric Mullins but then retired nine of the next 10 hitters he faced. But Adalberto Mejia and Tyler Duffey, each a former starter trying to snag a spot in the Twins’ bullpen, were far less effective. Mejia went two innings and gave up five hits and three runs, the first time he’s been scored upon since Feb. 23. Duffey, who walked three in his lone inning, allowed only one hit, but it was a two-run homer by Orioles infielder Jace Peterson.