FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jake Odorizzi was happy with a lot of things on Wednesday. Happy to get back on the mound. Happy to pitch in a competitive setting. Happy with the life on his fastball. Happy about his progress with the things he had been working on.
So, what were those things?
“Just some here and theres and what-have-yous is what we’re trying to work on,” Odorizzi said. “I think everyone’s pretty secretive (about) what they’re trying to do, especially when you’ve been around long enough that you’re not going to surprise anybody. Just trying to hone things and maybe experiment with some different things.”
Odorizzi gave up one run on two hits in two innings Wednesday, striking out one in the Twins’ 5-4 exhibition game loss to the Phillies at Hammond Stadium. While he is content to remain mum on what he’s been working on — he made routine trips to the Florida Baseball Ranch again this offseason — he is planning on spending spring training experimenting and putting some of those things into action.
“You might be able to pick up on them as the season goes on,” Odorizzi said. “Spring training is one of those things where I know what I do well — and I try to avoid that as best as I can.”
Instead of taking what he does well and putting it into action, Odorizzi opts to work on things that he wouldn’t in a normal game as he attempts to improve. If you’re trying to get a glimpse of some of the new things Odorizzi is trying out, that might have to wait until the regular season; he prefers to do much of his spring work on the back fields as he gets into longer outings.
So you’ll just have to take his word for it: The 2019 all-star is feeling good. And happy.
“Out there today, I just felt comfortable with things I’m doing and the progress I’ve made from last year to this year,” Odorizzi said. “I couldn’t be happier right now. It was good to be out there and get a good sweat going.”
It’s been an eventful week for the Twins’ No. 2 prospect, Alex Kirilloff, who welcomed his first child, Penelope Lee Kirilloff, with his wife Jordan on March 20.
The new father got his first taste of spring action on Wednesday, starting in right field against the Phillies. Kirilloff went 1-for-2 with an RBI single.
Kirilloff, who dealt with an injury for part of last season, spent 2019 at Double-A Pensacola, where he hit .283 with a .343 on-base percentage and .413 slugging percentage in 94 games for the Blue Wahoos.
The Twins will let Nelson Cruz dictate how many at-bats he needs in spring training to prepare himself. After all, the 39-year-old veteran has been doing this long enough to know exactly what he needs to be ready.
Cruz played in his second spring training game on Wednesday, hitting his second home run in as many days. He went back-to-back with 21-year-old Seth Gray, the team’s fourth-round draft pick in 2019, who was appearing in the first spring training game of his young career.