When the Minnesota Twins took on the Seattle Mariners on Friday at Safeco Field, there were a few new faces in Minnesota’s lineup.
Shortstop Pedro Florimon and outfielder Matt Carson both made their Twins debuts in Minnesota’s 5-3 loss to the Mariners.
“A couple guys in the lineup for the first time. It was fun to see them out there,” said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire. “But unfortunately, a loss.”
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Carson was called up from Triple-A Rochester prior to Friday’s game. With the Red Wings this season, he batted .277 in 110 games with 14 homers and 49 RBI. With outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere out of the lineup with injuries, Carson was plugged into the No. 8 spot in the lineup and played right field.
He picked up his first hit as a Twin with an RBI in the top of the fifth inning. With Justin Morneau on third base and Ryan Doumit on second, Carson singled off Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma to drive in Morneau to cut Seattle’s lead to 3-1.
Carson finished 1-for-4 with a strikeout in his Minnesota debut.
Unlike Carson, Florimon did not record a hit in his first game as a Twin, but he made an impact in the field. Florimon robbed Seattle’s John Jaso in the seventh inning as he made a diving over-the-shoulder catch in shallow left field for the first out.
“That was fun to see,” Gardenhire said of Florimon’s catch.
Earlier this week, the Twins talked about how the 25-year-old Florimon can flash the leather in the field. His bat, meanwhile, remains a work in progress. Prior to his call-up, Florimon was hitting just .251 in 83 games for Rochester. But after shortstop Brian Dozier was demoted to Triple-A this week, Florimon will likely see plenty of playing time at shortstop.
Florimon’s best at-bat of the night came with one out in the fifth inning. After Jamey Carroll walked to load the bases, Florimon had a chance to cut into Seattle’s 3-1 lead or possible tie the game. But Iwakuma got Florimon to strike out swinging on a splitter in the dirt, the seventh pitch of a tough at-bat.
“(Florimon) had a pretty decent at-bat going against him, laid off some tough pitches, but he ultimately ended up chasing,” Gardenhire said. “That’s a tough situation for young guys coming up and not having many at-bats in the big leagues. You can sit there and say, ‘Why’d you swing at that?’ all day long, but that’s baseball. It happens.”
Florimon made a brief appearance in the major leauges last season with Baltimore, picking up one hit (a double) and two RBI in eight at-bats with the Orioles. The Twins claimed him off waivers last December, and he began the season with Double-A New Britain before advancing to Rochester and, on Friday, the Twins.
Major League rosters will expand on Sept. 1, less than two weeks from now, and Minnesota will get a chance to see several other young players play at the big league level. In the meantime, the next week and a half could be a chance for Florimon and Carson to make their cases to stay in the majors.