03/04/2013 4:30 PM ET
Gardenhire looking for a strong infield tandem
By Christina De Nicola / Special to MLB.com
JUPITER, Fla. -- For just the third time this spring, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire went with a middle infield comprised of shortstop Pedro Florimon and second baseman Brian Dozier.
It marked the first time the pair had paired up since last Tuesday. They also opened Grapefruit League action together on Feb. 23 against the Orioles.
"[We'd like to] get a feel for them together, and we will get those two together more often and see if that looks like it's going to work," Gardenhire said. "Right now, we're trying to get as many at-bats as we can early with everybody."
Florimon has started a team-high seven games heading into Monday afternoon's contest against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. Dozier, a former shortstop, has started six.
Gardenhire admitted that he hoped to get a more consistent double-play tandem on the field. Florimon has also paired up with 11-year veteran Jamey Carroll a few times.
"You would like to get two guys out there and have them as your tandem and not have to worry about that," Gardenhire said. "Unfortunately, we don't have that yet, so it's a work in progress. We're going to mix these guys in."
On Monday against the Cardinals, the Twins turned five double plays.
De Vries vies for spot in rotation
JUPITER, Fla. -- Twins right-hander Cole De Vries continues to make a case for the final spot in the rotation with two perfect innings on Monday afternoon against the Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium.
De Vries threw 23 pitches ---14 for strikes. His first strikeout came on a curveball and the second on a slider. He didn't issue any walks.
There is no scheduled date for his next start or how many pitches he will throw. De Vries believes it will probably progress to three innings or 30 to 35 pitches. His previous two spring outings had been just one inning each.
"It's an open position and I'm looking at it as mine to lose," said De Vries, who has allowed just one baserunner in three Grapefruit League starts. "I'm going out there and trying to prove every day that I want it, and I'm the guy to take that last spot. That's how I'm approaching it."
A surprise on last year's ballclub following his May callup, De Vries went 5-5 with 4.11 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) over 87 2/3 innings.
Two starts against the Rangers in Arlington stood out for Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. In the first, De Vries pitched seven scoreless innings for the no-decision. A month later, he allowed two runs over five innings for the win.
"Bottom line is, he pitched some pretty good ballgames for us, so this should be fun to see him get some starts and go from there," Gardenhire said.
Twins to make first cuts Thursday
JUPITER, Fla. -- With the start of Minor League camp this week, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said cuts would more than likely come sometime after Thursday's split-squad games against the Red Sox and the Phillies.
Until then, players leave impressions on the manager and his staff based on various factors, including sample size.
"It's spring and you have to take [sample size] into account," Gardenhire said. "Veterans get a little more leeway than kids, because veterans work at their pace and have done this before. Kids come out here and put a little too much pressure -- and hopefully they won't."
A quarter of the way through Grapefruit League play, Gardenhire has been pleased with the position battles and his team's fielding, which ranks sixth-best in fielding percentage (.982).
The emphasis continues to lie in lengthening pitchers, strengthening arms to the point where they can throw six innings or between 90 and 100 pitches.
Catcher Chris Herrmann and first baseman Brian Dinkelman started their first games of the spring on Monday afternoon.
"We're seeing so many different people and so many different arms, and a lot of young kids mixed in with some veterans," Gardenhire said. "We like the different arms we have. We definitely have power arms -- that's exciting."
• According to Gardenhire, right-hander Kevin Correia arrived in Fort Myers last night after he left for San Diego on Wednesday to be with his wife for the birth of their third child. Gardenhire expects him to throw a bullpen session on Monday and to see game action on either Tuesday or Wednesday.
• Outfielders Darin Mastroianni (sore left hamstring) and Oswaldo Arcia (strained intercostal muscle) could return sometime between Wednesday and Friday.
• There remains no update on the visa situation for third baseman Deibinson Romero, who has not reported to camp from the Dominican Republic. It would be his first big league camp.
"We thought we were on our way pretty quick," Gardenhire said. "We thought he would be here quick, and then something else slowed us up. That's too bad, because he had a hell of a year last year. He went from a prospect to a suspect back to a prospect, and we can't get him into camp."• Right-hander Alex Meyer pitched two scoreless innings of relief, walking a pair of batters in his Grapefruit League debut on Monday. The 23-year-old, part of the offseason Denard Span trade with the Nationals, is rated the top pitching prospect in the Twins' organization by MLB.com.
Christina De Nicola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.