FORT MYERS, Fla. — First it was Jason Castro. And then Ehire Adrianza. Willians Astudillo and Luke Raley followed. Then it was Adrianza again and Tyler Austin, the last two back-to-back.
By the time the day was done, the Minnesota Twins had slugged six home runs in their 12-9 exhibition victory over the Orioles at Hammond Stadium and had surged into the major league lead with 40 homers this the spring.
“I like it. How’d you like it? Was it fun?” manager Rocco Baldelli said of the power surge. “Give you a lot of tweet material, huh?”
Yes, it’s just spring training and pitchers are still working out kinks, but the Twins have showed off their power potential all spring.
“Our guys put some good swings on the ball,” Baldelli said. “So that was nice to see.”
Last year’s team was 29th in home runs during the spring before hitting 166 in the regular season, 23rd in the league. The Twins added some pop to their lineup in the offseason, adding Nelson Cruz (37 home runs in 2018), C.J. Cron (30), Jonathan Schoop (21) and Marwin Gonzalez (16).
All that addition power will supplement a lineup which includes Eddie Rosario, who led the Twins with 24 home runs last year, and Max Kepler, who hit 20. They will join a healthy Byron Buxton, who packed on muscle this offseason, and a Miguel Sano who, if all goes well for him, should be playing from May onward.
“We’ve got our new guys. … It’s going to be a really good lineup during the season, and I’m looking forward to seeing some home runs, for sure,” Adrianza said. “It’s going to be a power lineup. I’m really excited for this group right now.”
Buxton has flashed some of his power this spring. He and Adam Rosales lead the team with four homers apiece. Rosario has three this spring, and a host of players have two each, including, now, Adrianza.
“Adrianza, that’s a nice day for him,” Baldelli said. “More than even the home run, the confidence and the strength coming back from both sides of the plate. And getting there right handed. He’s getting there and putting good swings on the ball.”
Javier leaves early
Shortstop Wander Javier, one of the Twins’ top prospects, got the start at shortstop for the second straight day. He showed a bit of his offensive potential, doubling in the second inning to drive in a run and then singling in his next at-bat.
But his day ended early as Javier was subbed out after the third, leaving the game as a precaution for a right quad strain.
“I think he’s going to be fine. It was more precautionary than anything else,” Baldelli said. “It was a very mild issue but something we definitely would want him to go get checked out before anything else. He still had a smile on his face, and it’s been fun watching him.”
Polanco still missing
Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco has been dealing with a personal issue that has kept him out of action. Polanco last played on Tuesday in Bradenton and has been out of the lineup since then.