03/07/2013 7:21 PM ET
Gibson struggles with command against Phillies
By Rhett Bollinger and Adam Berry / MLB.com
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Right-hander Kyle Gibson said his performance against the Phillies on Thursday at Bright House Field was a throwback to his time in the Arizona Fall League. That's not a good thing.
"The main comparison between [Thursday and] that is just my fastball command," Gibson said. "Out in Arizona, my command of my fastball was just terrible, honestly."
Gibson struggled to locate his fastball and gave up six runs on eight hits, a walk and three wild pitches -- all fastballs -- over 2 1/3 innings in Minnesota's 10-6 win over Philadelphia. The Twins' No. 4 prospect, vying for a spot in the rotation, admittedly left too many pitches up and yanked plenty more, either badly missing the strike zone or teeing them up.
Manager Ron Gardenhire noticed Gibson's problem: He was trying to move the ball too much when he should have just let his fastball's natural movement do the job. Between catcher Chris Herrmann having a hard time seeing the ball and Gibson putting too much on his fastball, there were three wild pitches in the four-run second inning alone.
As is seemingly the case for all pitchers who struggle on the mound, Gibson felt fine warming up in the bullpen. But there might be more to that, as he noted that he's much less likely to overthrow during his pregame routine than he is once the adrenaline starts flowing in the game.
"I think right now I'm just getting myself into a spot where I'm trying a little bit too hard with my fastball and trying to do too much with it rather than letting it work," Gibson said. "I think sometimes in the bullpen I just get myself slowed down, and I actually am a little bit smoother. Then I get out there and I let it speed up on me a little bit."
There were a few positives, however. Gibson said that his offspeed pitches were some of the best he's thrown all spring, and he left the game feeling fine physically. But he has less than a month to claim a spot in the rotation, and March will be less about how he's holding up after Tommy John surgery and more about the competition.
"I think I'm to the point where I'm ... three weeks in and I'm kind of over the part of staying healthy," he said. "Now it's time to go out there and actually compete and be successful and win a job. The health part, that's kind of in the back of my mind now. I'm not really thinking about that any more."
Momentous day nets Hicks memories and a scorecard
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Aaron Hicks had hit five homers over his previous three games when he came to the plate in the eighth inning on Thursday. Why wouldn't he swing for the fences?
With three homers already under his belt in this contest and a fourth on his mind, Hicks took a massive cut but missed a 2-0 pitch from Phillies right-hander Zach Miner. He wound up "settling" for a two-run single that broke his bat -- "Died a hero," Hicks said -- and gave the Twins a three-run lead. That brought an end to his 4-for-5 day, in which he drove in six runs and stole a base.
"It got colder two degrees when he swung and missed at that ball," manager Ron Gardenhire joked after his club's 10-6 win over the Phillies. "He definitely looked like he was trying to lift and separate. Then he regrouped and stayed on the ball. ... That was huge."
It was Hicks' first three-homer game since his days at Woodrow Wilson High School, in Long Beach, Calif., against Marina High School, and it was a memorable enough performance to warrant him keeping the official scorecard.
"Pretty fun day. You don't see that too many times," Gardenhire said. "He was pretty pumped up himself. We're just trying to get back in the game, no matter how we do it. He was sure a big part of that."
Granted, two of the switch-hitting center fielder's blasts were certainly helped by the friendly wind that blows out to right at Bright House Field. That's where he hit his first and third homers, both opposite-field shots off lefty pitchers, the former against Cliff Lee and the latter against Raul Valdes. But he pulled the second of his three bombs to left field against lefty Jeremy Horst.
He's naturally a right-handed hitter, which explains his power from that side, and he knew the elements were in his favor on Thursday.
"Clearwater usually blows out pretty well," Hicks said. "I really took advantage of the wind blowing out to right. The third one, I was trying to drive the ball to the right side, hopefully use that three hole and get a guy from first to third. I just elevated it, and there it is. There's No. 3."
Correia says layoff didn't impact subpar outing
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Kevin Correia made his first start on Thursday since heading home to San Diego to attend the birth of his third child, a boy named Benjamin, with his wife Diana.
Correia gave up three runs (two earned) on six hits over 2 1/3 innings in the Twins' 12-5 loss to the Red Sox. He said the layoff in between starts -- his last outing came on Feb. 27 against the Phillies before flying home after that game -- didn't have any bearing on his outing.
"I feel like I was stronger than I was last time out there," said Correia, who returned to Twins camp on Sunday and threw a bullpen session on Monday. "I don't think having a few days off really affected me at all."
Correia also wasn't helped by his defense, as Joe Benson lost a fly ball in the sun with two outs in the second inning. It was ruled as an RBI double by Drew Sutton. Correia also made a throwing error in the first inning that led to an unearned run scoring.
Overall, Correia came away mostly pleased with his outing and said he's not worried about his 6.75 ERA so far in three Grapefruit League outings. He had a 7.71 ERA in Spring Training with the Pirates last year before posting a 4.54 ERA during the regular season.
"I think by the end of spring I'll have that extra two to three inches of command that'll be the difference between giving up a hit to somebody and getting them out," Correia said. "That's what you hope, but everything feels pretty good. Every time out there you want to have a good outing, but I've learned to not let it affect me at all."
First of seven Twins spring telecasts to air Friday
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins' first televised Spring Training game of the 2013 season is set for Friday night in a 6:05 p.m. CT start at the Red Sox's JetBlue Park.
The game will be aired on FOX Sports North Plus. To find out where to access FOX Sports North Plus locally, click here.
The matchup between the Red Sox and Twins is the first of seven Grapefruit League games scheduled to be carried by FOX Sports North. The first four Spring Training telecasts will air on FOX Sports North Plus. Fans outside the area can also check MLB.TV for broadcast information.
Other games slated to be televised are: March 15 at the Red Sox's JetBlue Park at 6:05 p.m. CT; March 21 at the Yankees' Steinbrenner Field at 6:05 p.m. CT; March 23 at the Rays' Charlotte Sports Park at 12:05 p.m. CT; March 24 vs. the Blue Jays at Hammond Stadium at 12:05 p.m. CT; March 25 vs. the Cardinals at Hammond Stadium at 12:05 p.m. CT; and March 28 at the Red Sox's JetBlue Park at 6:05 p.m. CT.
Parmelee a late scrach with groin issue
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Chris Parmelee was a late scratch on Thursday due to a tight right groin and should be out "a few days," manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Gardenhire didn't know many of the details regarding the injury but said it happened on Monday, when Parmelee was running from first to third during the Twins' 7-0 loss to the Cardinals.
Parmelee, expected to be the everyday right fielder, was originally in the split-squad lineup as the designated hitter. He was replaced by Eduardo Escobar.
"I told him to see how he felt when he went out for [pregame] swinging and all that stuff. Obviously, didn't work out," Gardenhire said. "We'll be a few days here, I'm sure. Didn't work out today, so we'll back off a few days."
Gardenhire had no updates on center fielder Darin Mastroianni, who's been sidelined by the sore left hamstring he tweaked last week. The Twins had originally hoped to have Mastroianni back on the field by now, but Gardenhire could only say he hoped to have him in the lineup on Friday, against the Red Sox.
"I haven't heard anything on him, but I'm hoping that comes soon," he said. "We hope. I'm not positive. After [Thursday's] split squad, we'll see where they're at."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.