FORT MYERS, Fla. — Twins right-hander Jason Marquis labored through his first Grapefruit League start on Monday, lasting just 1 2/3 innings against Boston. He gave up four runs on three hits and walked three batters.
Friday’s start against St. Louis was a bit more encouraging for Marquis, who allowed one run on three hits in three innings of work. He didn’t labor as deep into counts Friday as he did in Monday’s outing.
“I’ve been working hard to get my delivery right. I just felt like last game, my arm was dragging a little bit. I just had nothing out front, no life on the ball,” Marquis said. “I made a slight adjustment in my windup with (pitching coach Rick Anderson) in back-to-back bullpens yesterday and the day before just to make sure I felt right coming into today. I was able to do a better job with that.”
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Marquis walked Cardinals first baseman Lance Berkman and allowed a single to Jon Jay in the first inning, but induced a grounder to escape the inning. After a 1-2-3 second inning, Marquis allowed his only run on a sacrifice fly by Skip Schumacher in the third. Marquis had five groundouts and four fly ball outs in three innings.
“He looked better,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Marquis. “I think the second inning he misfired a few, but overall he was pretty good.”
Friday’s start for Marquis was against one of his former teams. The journeyman right-hander spent three seasons in St. Louis and won a World Series ring with the Cardinals in 2006 — although he didn’t pitch in the World Series.
Still, Marquis has fond memories of his three years in St. Louis.
“Every stop I’ve made has had a big meaning on my career. Obviously the (time with the) Cardinals was real special. That’s really where my career took off,” said Marquis, who broke into the majors in 2000 with the Braves. “I know I got called up in Atlanta, put my time in there and was up and down, up and down. Then the Cardinals took a chance on me by trading for me, and that’s where my career propelled.”
On Friday, Marquis was facing his good friend and Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright, who made his first start since Sept. 24, 2010. Wainwright missed all of last season after having Tommy John surgery. The Cardinals right-hander pitched two scoreless innings against the Twins.
“I’m real close with Adam. I was able to see him before the game,” Marquis said. “I’m just happy that he’s out on the mound pain-free. A lot of guys have obviously gone through that surgery. When it’s a close friend of yours, you hope nothing but the best and he comes back stronger and healthy. I know he has no doubts in his mind. He put a lot of work in. He looked great.”
Scoreless drought ends: Before Friday’s game, the Twins had been held scoreless for 24 consecutive innings, dating back to the third inning of Tuesday’s 3-2 win against the Rays.
That streak was extended for three more innings before outfielder Joe Benson drew a bases-loaded, two-out walk against Trevor Rosenthal to bring in Minnesota’s first run of the game. Benson fell behind 0-2 in the count before laying off several pitches to load the count.
Minnesota’s only other run in Friday’s game also came on a bases-loaded walk, as shortstop Pedro Florimon worked the count to draw a walk against Victor Marte. But Rene Tosoni grounded out in the next at-bat to end the game.
The Twins fell to 1-5 this spring when scoring three runs or fewer. They’re 2-0 when scoring four or more runs.
Doyle gets start in “A” game: Minnesota will send most of its players to Bradenton on Saturday for a pair of games against Pittsburgh. Scott Baker will start in the team’s “B” game first, and Terry Doyle will take the mound in the “A” game.
The Twins acquired Doyle from the White Sox via the Rule 5 Draft this past December. The 26-year-old Doyle split time between High-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham last year. In 15 starts with Birmingham, Doyle was 7-5 with a 3.24 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 100 innings.
Rule 5 draft picks must stay on a team’s 25-man roster for the entire season otherwise they have to be offered back to their former team. That means the Twins want to see what Doyle can offer, and he’ll get his chance Saturday in the “A” game.
“We Rule 5’d him, so we need to see him,” Gardenhire said. “We need to see him against competition and see how he handles himself. … We like him a lot. We’ll just see how it goes.”