3/7/2014 5:40 P.M. ET
Hot-hitting Colabello given chance to make roster
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Chris Colabello had an impressive day at the plate on Friday, as he picked up three hits, including the go-ahead RBI single in the ninth to lead the Twins to a 6-5 win over the Pirates.
Colabello started the game on the bench, but ended up going 3-for-3 with two runs scored.
"He had big hits," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We know what Cola can do. If he stays on the ball and gets his foot down early, he can hit the ball pretty good."
Colabello, 30, made his Major League debut last year after a long path to the Majors that saw him play in the independent Can-Am League for seven seasons.
The first baseman was the International League Most Valuable Player after hitting .352/.427/.639 with 24 homers and 25 doubles at Triple-A Rochester, but he couldn't carry that success into the Majors. He hit just .194/.287/.344 with seven homers and three doubles in 55 games.
But Colabello was kept on the 40-man roster this offseason to compete for a spot as a backup first baseman and designated hitter, and he is off to a hot start this spring. After going 3-for-3, he's now hitting .455/.625/.636 with two doubles and five walks in six games.
"It feels pretty good -- I spent the whole winter working on it," Colabello said about his swing. "Two-strike approach is pretty big for me. I think the last few at-bats I've had, I've got to two strikes and battled my way out of it. I'm just trying to get comfortable again with balls coming in. I think last year, I got a certain point where I wanted the ball away so much I almost stopped worrying about it. So that's an important talking point for me."
Correia backed by two homers in 'B' game draw
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Kevin Correia tossed three scoreless innings, while Eduardo Escobar and Jermaine Mitchell both homered in a 3-3 tie against the Pirates on Friday in a nine-inning "B" game held at Pittsburgh's Minor League complex.
Correia was solid, as he surrendered just two hits over three innings, with 21 of his 34 pitches going for strikes. Correia has yet to allow a run this spring in his three starts coming in an intrasquad game, a Grapefruit League game and Friday's "B" game.
"Hopefully, that continues," Correia said about his early spring success. "My command feels fine. It's just a matter of building arm strength and innings from here on out."
Mitchell gave the Twins their first run with a solo blast off Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole in the second inning. The Twins scored again in the third, when Escobar singled and came home on a double from Jorge Polanco. Escobar later tied the game with a solo homer in the seventh off Stolmy Pimentel.
The Pirates scored their three runs in the fourth on a three-run blast from Brent Morel off left-hander Brian Duensing.
Casey Fien, Anthony Swarzak, Alex Meyer, Caleb Thielbar and Yohan Pino each threw a scoreless inning in relief for the Twins.
Hicks, Arcia rest due to minor injuries
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Outfielders Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia were both held back from action in the Twins' two games against the Pirates on Friday for precautionary reasons, but both are expected to return to action soon.
Hicks felt minor discomfort in his right elbow while taking swings in the batting cage before Thursday's scheduled game against the Cardinals that ended up being rained out.
But Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said that Hicks wasn't even on the official team injury list given by the medical staff on Friday, as the Twins were just being cautious with him on Thursday.
Arcia was sent home sick on Thursday with flu-like symptoms and was told to stay back on Friday. Arcia is expected to be back in the lineup this weekend.
• Right-hander Matt Guerrier threw his second live bullpen session on Friday, and he remains on track to make his Grapefruit League debut on Tuesday. Guerrier had surgery in mid-August to repair the flexor mass in his right elbow.
• Byron Buxton started in center field and batted leadoff for the Twins in their "B" game against the Pirates on Friday. Buxton, ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect in baseball by MLB.com, went 0-for-3 with a walk. He also made a diving catch in the outfield on a shallow fly ball. Buxton, 20, is also 2-for-14 in Grapefruit League action with one double in six games.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.