3/26/2014 5:50 P.M. ET
Nolasco's last start helps prep for regular season
By Quinn Roberts / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With whipping winds and the temperature hovering around 60 degrees at the start of Wednesday's 1:05 p.m. ET game between the Pirates and Twins, it was anything but typical weather for a Spring Training contest.
However, the unusual conditions didn't bother Twins right-hander Ricky Nolasco, who dominated in his final tuneup before he takes the hill Opening Day against the White Sox in Chicago. He allowed just one hit and one walk in four innings. He also struck out three.
"Today was a good way for me to get ready for the cold," Nolasco said. "The ball was a little tough and dry. I was actually kind of glad it was like that. I was blowing on my hands a little bit to keep them warm. It will definitely be like that in Chicago."
Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson felt like it was Nolasco's most complete start of the spring.
"He threw the ball down hill better. One thing we have been waiting for him to do is really get that fastball command," Anderson said. "He did that today, which was huge."
In five starts this spring, Nolasco tossed 18 innings, allowing a total of 11 runs and 20 hits. He also struck out 11 and walked just three.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Nolasco came to him after the fourth inning, telling him he felt ready after tossing just 56 pitches.
"I didn't want him to get too high of a pitch count. Once he got his work in and felt comfortable, we knew he was ready," Gardenhire said. "He is a veteran, so once he knows, you trust him."
Now that Nolasco's first Spring Training with the Twins is officially over, he's ready for the excitement of the regular season.
"You get to this last week and everyone can't wait for the beginning of the season and the regular-season atmosphere, Nolasco said.
"It is an honor to take the ball any time you get it for Opening Day. I am just going to go out there and do what I've been able to do throughout my career."
Offensive numbers a slight concern for front office
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Even with a handful of games left in Spring Training, the Twins are hoping to see an improvement in the team's offensive output before the start of the regular season.
Coming into Wednesday's game against the Pirates, no Twins player had reached double-digits in RBIs, and only one player (Brandon Waring) had more than one home run.
"We haven't seen anyone offensively put on a show," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "It has been awfully quiet on that side."
Choosing to focus on putting a solid starting rotation together for the 2014 season, the Twins had little luck in acquiring position players during the offseason.
"You'd like to see signs of life to give you a little conviction and belief, even if it is Spring Training," Antony said. "Certain guys need to step forward."
With a heavy dose of left-handers expected to be in the starting lineup come Opening Day, Antony is concerned about how that may affect the team's offensive numbers.
"It is certainly a problem," Antony said. "However, it isn't a huge concern that we are fairly left-handed. We have a lot of lefties and have to learn how to work with that."
Antony: Consistency issues led to Worley trade
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony was quite candid on Wednesday when explaining why the team chose to trade right-hander Vance Worley to the Pirates for cash considerations a day earlier.
"He didn't throw as hard as he did in the past and couldn't get the ball down. He couldn't change some of the things he knew he had to," Antony said. "He didn't have any consistency. He quickly fell behind the other guys, and that's why we did something with him."
Worley, who was out of Minor League options, was outrighted off the 40-man roster on Friday after going unclaimed on waivers.
Worley struggled this spring with a 13.50 ERA in four Grapefruit League appearances. He entered the spring hoping to land the fifth spot in the Twins rotation.
The final straw came after giving up seven runs on 11 hits against the Rays on March 18.
"We were trying to build every confidence in him and build off of his past successes," Antony said.
Worley was Minnesota's Opening Day starter last season after he was acquired in a trade from Philadelphia for outfielder Ben Revere. While with the Phillies in the first three years of his career, Worley had a 3.50 ERA in 277 2/3 innings.
"I think a change of scenery will be good for him. Since the trade was made, I don't think many good things have gone well for him," Antony said. "It just wasn't going to work for us up here. It is good for him to try it somewhere else."
Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.