FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins haven’t had a chance to see their top prospect, Royce Lewis, in action in a Grapefruit League game yet.
But Thursday, March 14, they got a better look at a couple of their other top prospects, with Wander Javier starting the game -- a 10-4 exhibition loss to the Washington Nationals at Hammond Stadium -- at shortstop and outfielder Trevor Larnach seeing his first time in big-league camp.
Javier is the Twins’ No. 4 prospect per MLBPipeline, and Larnach, the team’s first-round draft pick in 2018, is No. 5. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said he is looking for them to come in and take advantage of their experience, watching and learning as much as they can while they are around the big-league club.
“That’s more important than anything,” Baldelli said. “It’s good for me to personally lay eyes on them and good for the staff to see them on the field. But what they’re taking out of it, I think, is the most important thing, and they’re all taking advantage of these ABs and these innings and these opportunities. They’re doing a really nice job.”
Larnach, in his first at-bat, flashed his power, hitting an opposite-field home run to left-center. Javier finished the day 0 for 2 with a pair of walks.
“To see a young player -- there’s the combination of skills that usually can get you excited, and an athletic guy with some strength that can swing the bat and also play in the middle of the field, that’s the type of combination that can result in a really impactful major league player,” Baldelli said of Javier. “That’s what he is, and he’s getting his feet back under him and get back into the swing of things after dealing with some adversity, and I think he looks good.”
Eddie Rosario had no idea he had hit a home run in the fourth inning of Thursday’s game.
The ball had bounced back into the field, and so the Twins outfielder never stopped hustling around the bases. He made it to third base at about the same time the ball did -- and was a bit shaken up on the play at the bag when he did.
“We tried to tell him that it was a home run, but we were also trying to make sure he was OK,” Baldelli said.
After being checked on at third base, Rosario got up and joyfully finished the rest of his trot.
“If he he was actually hurt, I was going to probably want someone else to finish the home run for him, but as soon as he heard ‘home run’ and it actually sunk in, he was not going to have any of that,” Baldelli said.
The Twins continued to trim down the number of players in camp on Thursday, optioning pitcher Zack Littell to Triple-A Rochester. With two weeks remaining before Opening Day, 46 players remain in big-league camp.
Littell pitched in just one game in major league camp this spring as he had dealt with shoulder issues. The 23-year-old made his major league debut last year, appearing in eight games for the Twins, two of them starts.