Saturday’s Twins lineup could be Opening Day preview
Newcomers Gallo led off, while Taylor played center field
FORT MYERS, Fla. — On Friday, the Minnesota Twins announced their Opening Day starter. Saturday, they might have given a sneak preview of their Opening Day lineup. For the first time all spring, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli wrote out a lineup that looks like it could resemble the one he could trot out Thursday in Kansas City.
“I don’t have an Opening Day lineup done,” Baldelli said. “But (this is) a good looking lineup.”
Joey Gallo led off and played first base in the Twins’ 9-4 loss to the Braves at Hammond Stadium. He was followed by Carlos Correa at shortstop and Byron Buxton as the designated hitter. Right fielder Max Kepler hit cleanup, followed by Jose Miranda, playing third base for the first time all spring, and Trevor Larnach in left. Michael A. Taylor manned center and Nick Gordon played second.
Ryan Jeffers hit last, the only name unlikely to be in the Opening Day lineup. That’s expected to be Christian Vazquez, who had caught the two previous days and had the day off.
The Twins will face right-hander Zack Greinke on Opening Day, and Baldelli has said that he thinks Gallo will hit leadoff at times against right-handed pitching.
“There are a lot of different kinds of righties, so guys that are trying to do different things … have different strengths,” Baldelli said. “So, depending on who it is, I think (Gallo) is definitely one of those options.”
An outfielder by trade, Gallo was playing first for Alex Kirilloff, who will begin the season on the injured list — although it’s possible the Twins could use Miranda there depending on his shoulder. While he has been a DH all spring because of shoulder soreness, Miranda only recently started playing first base and Saturday was his spring debut at third, the position he is expected to play this season. He did not have a groundball hit his way.
The Twins have reassigned pitchers Jose De Leon and Jeff Hoffman to minor league camp. There are 36 players left in camp, a number that includes players, such as Kirilloff and Jorge Polanco, who will begin the season on the injured list. … Reliever Griffin Jax is leaving camp Saturday night for the birth of his first child. He is expected to meet the team in Kansas City. … The Twins played a split-squad game against the Braves in North Port and lost that game 9-4, as well. … Larnach hit a ball that cleared the batter’s eye on Saturday. It was his fourth home run of the spring. Later in the game, Miranda launched his team-leading fifth homer.
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