One swing on Friday made Ehire Adrianza feel very relieved — and sets up an interesting final stretch of spring training.
In the sixth inning against the Orioles, the Twins infielder connected on a knee-high fastball from lefthander Josh Rogers and propelled it over the center field wall. It was his second home run of the day — but that’s not what was noteworthy about his game. He homered from both sides of the plate in the game, which means he hit one of them righthanded.
Adrianza had October surgery on his left shoulder, stemming from an injury suffered Sept. 2 in a game against Texas. The injury made it hard for the switch hitter to follow through while batting righthanded, so he only hit lefthanded at the end of the season. This spring, he was reluctant to swing righthanded in the early stages of camp but decided right before exhibition games to give it a shot.
The home run Friday proved to him that he was healthy and can swing away.
“I had a little bit of concern about my shoulder the first couple of weeks of spring training,” he said, “but now I feel very confident. That [home run] is what I was looking for. I feel very good about my shoulder.”
Adrianza is in his third season with the Twins, but his spot on the team as a utility player is not guaranteed, even though his $1.3 million salary is. He needs a strong, and healthy, spring to lock down a spot on the bench. Whether it is four-man or five-man bench remains to be seen, as the Twins figure out how many pitchers they will need during the first half of April, during which they have five off days.