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Updated: March 6th, 2011 3:42pm
Live from Florida, Day 18: Nishioka flashes bat; Duensing rolling

Live from Florida, Day 18: Nishioka flashes bat; Duensing rolling

by Tom Pelissero
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A rundown of the news, notes and quotes from Sunday at Minnesota Twins spring training:

Sunday's result

Twins 3, Orioles 0

This was exactly what Twins manager Ron Gardenhire envisioned from his remodeled middle infield.

With shortstop Alexi Casilla on first base and one out in the bottom of the third inning, Gardenhire called for a hit-and-run with second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who pulled the ball perfectly through the hole on the right side.

Casilla motored around second base, jogged into third and took home when the Orioles lazily relayed the ball to the infield.

"That's what speed can do," Gardenhire said. "You can't do those things if you can't run, and Lexi can run. Little was telling him to pick up the ball, the ball's in the infield, Lexi made a good turn, the guy put his head down, dropped his hands, and Lexi came around."

In the fifth inning, Nishioka -- who entered with only two hits in his first 12 at-bats -- tripled to the right-center field gap for his second RBI.

"That ball's smacked pretty good," Gardenhire said. "I like to hit-and-run. I like things like that, the contact of the bat. (Nishioka)'s bat stays in the zone a long time, normally gets the barrel on the ball pretty good, so that's a sign of a very good hitter."

It wasn't a perfect day for the starting infield. Nishioka nearly airmailed a throw and Casilla booted a grounder in the top of the third. And in the fourth, third baseman Danny Valencia couldn't handle a hopper to his left, although that was ruled a hit.

• LHP Brian Duensing threw three scoreless innings, giving up a pair of second-inning singles, striking out one and walking none. "There's not near as much pressure that I'm putting on myself in trying to figure out where I'm at or try to overdo things," said Duensing, whom Gardenhire has confirmed will be in the rotation. He primarily has been throwing his fastball and changeup -- he estimated he's thrown one curveball in two spring outings -- and plans to use his next outing on Friday to work on breaking balls.

• LHP Scott Diamond allowed four base runners (two hits, two walks) in two long innings. "You can't come in out of the bullpen and stop the game," Gardenhire said. "He's going to learn to do that. ... I guarantee it, because (pitching coach Rick Anderson) got after him."

• After Diamond departed, LHP Dusty Hughes, RHP Jim Hoey, LHP Chuck James and RHP Anthony Swarzak each threw one inning of no-hit ball, with the only base runner reaching on a walk issued by Hoey.

Who's hot?

• 3B Danny Valencia ripped a double to the wall in left-center field in the first inning, giving him six hits -- including four doubles -- in his past 10 at-bats. He's hitting .500 (6-for-12) and slugging .833.

• DH Luke Hughes first-inning single to center field brought home Valencia with the game's first run and gave him six RBIs in as many spring-training games. He finished 1-for-3, though, twice ending the inning with two runners on base.

Who's not?

• Since going 2-for-2 with a triple in the spring opener last Sunday, OF Jason Repko is 1-for-15 (.067). He did draw a walk against Baltimore, but that was erased when he tried to take second on a pitch in the dirt.

Numbers game

18: Speed (in miles per hour) of the wind blowing out to center field when the first pitch was thrown.

96: Speed of Hoey's fastball, according to the radar gun at Hammond Stadium.

7,924: Attendance on "Minnesota Day," an annual event featuring large-scale tailgating in one of the Lee County Sports Complex's parking lots.

Health watch

• Casilla tweaked his left ankle running the bases and is expected to miss a day or two.

• C Joe Mauer (knee) is "progressing as usual," Gardenhire said. "Just doing his thing, and there's no specific date for him to get out there. He's just doing his thing and getting his leg ready and doing his exercises."

• 1B Justin Morneau (concussion) continues to take batting practice but hasn't been cleared for game action.

• OF Delmon Young (toe) is "not really a lot better," Gardenhire said. "They've done the X-rays or the MRIs, and it's just like a tendinitis in there or a little arthritis in his toe that he's just going to have to work through."

• RHP Anthony Slama (elbow) continues to experience tenderness and isn't ready.

• First-base coach Jerry White went to the ground after Orioles RHP Wynn Pelzer's errant pickoff throw struck him in the leg. White finished the inning after receiving medical attention, then left with a bruised left shin.


"We're going to get him an Oscar award. By the time I got there, I could not stop laughing. ... It's a serious thing when you get hit, but Jerry tends to overplay it a little bit. He's OK."
-- Gardenhire, on White's injury

On deck

The Twins continue a three-game homestand against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday. First pitch is at 12:05 p.m.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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