FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Slowed early in camp by a turf toe injury, Delmon Young has caught up quickly.
Young hit a two-run homer and Scott Baker pitched six solid innings to help the Minnesota Twins beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-5 on Friday.
Jake Fox hit his ninth home run of the spring and Adam Jones his fifth for Baltimore. Nolan Reimold also went deep.
Orioles starter Brad Bergesen was hit on the right forearm by Denard Span’s line drive in the first inning. Bergesen left the game after throwing only four pitches, but X-rays were negative and the injury was determined to be a bruise.
Young, sidelined for the first two weeks of spring training, homered in the second off minor leaguer Mike Ballard, who allowed six runs and six hits in one inning.
The 25-year-old Young is entering his fifth full big league season. He hit .298 with 21 home runs and 112 RBIs last season, all career highs. Since coming back from the injury, he has played in 13 games, hitting .417 (15 for 36) with three homers and nine RBIs.
“Delmon is swinging really good,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Delmon’s locked in right now. He’s hitting the ball really, really hard. He got a bit of a late start with the toe thing, but he’s swinging good.”
Young was drafted No. 1 overall by Tampa Bay in 2003 out of Adolfo Camarillo (Calif.) High School. He joined the Twins in a November 2007 trade.
“As a pitcher, you start to watch these hitters,” Baker said. “He’s not giving a lot of at-bats away. He’s not swinging at bad pitches. He’s not chasing pitches out of the zone. He’s obviously very talented. He could be one of the best hitters in the league, for sure. I think you’re starting to see that come to fruition.”
Baker, assured of a rotation spot, gave up three runs and five hits. He struck out five and walked one.
Bergesen joked after his brief outing that he had a no-hitter. The right-hander is competing with Chris Tillman and Zach Britton for a spot in the rotation.
Span’s liner caromed off Bergesen’s forearm and into the glove of second baseman Robert Andino for an out.
“The doctor said he hit me in probably the best spot,” Bergesen said. “He said any higher would have been a deep muscle bruise, and that would have caused some damage. And a little bit lower would have been ligaments, and lower than that would have caught the bone flush by itself.
“He said to get in the right arm, that’s the best spot.”
Bergesen entered with a 5.94 ERA over five spring appearances and was counting on a solid performance to enhance his bid to make the club.
“My hope coming into today was to get up six times and pitch how I’m capable of pitching, so that part’s frustrating,” Bergesen said. “But it’s something I can’t control, so hopefully I’ll get another chance in another x-amount of days.”
Jones went 3 for 4 with a two-run shot off Baker in the third. Reimold connected in the fourth and finished with two hits.
Twins first baseman Justin Morneau went 1 for 3 with an RBI, raising his spring average to .125. Joe Mauer was 0 for 2 with a walk, lowering his average to .385.
NOTES: Orioles RHP Justin Duchscherer tested his sore left hip by throwing 40 pitches in a bullpen session in Sarasota. “You could tell that he felt good physically. That’s encouraging,” manager Buck Showalter said. Duchscherer, who next will throw two innings Monday in a minor league game, is slated to begin the season on the 15-day disabled list and make his debut with Baltimore on April 21. … Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts (back) and first baseman Derrek Lee (foot) did not make the trip, but Showalter said both players were feeling good after seeing extended time in Thursday night’s game against Pittsburgh. … Twins closer Joe Nathan threw in back-to-back games for the first time this spring, pitching in a minor league game. Nathan is coming back from Tommy John surgery last March on his right elbow. He struck out one in one inning. “My curveball has definitely surpassed what I’ve expected,” Nathan said. “That’s the one pitch that has gotten better. I feel more consistent with it. … The changeup’s really gotten better. My sinker is something I’ve worked on the last year and a half. These pitches are all where I need them to be.” Nathan said he just needs to get better throwing his slider, and that should come with improved arm strength. “The first month of the year, I think it will just get better and better,” Nathan said. “I’m still fine-tuning my slider. That’s one of those pitches that always seems to come later in spring for me.”
(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)