CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It's fitting that right-handers Trevor May and Jose Berrios, the top two candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation, have been lined up to pitch on the same day early this spring, giving the coaching staff a chance to evaluate the two pitchers in the same
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It's fitting that right-handers Trevor May and Jose Berrios, the top two candidates for the fifth spot in the rotation, have been lined up to pitch on the same day early this spring, giving the coaching staff a chance to evaluate the two pitchers in the same game.
They were both solid, yet inefficient, in the 4-3 win against the Phillies on Friday, as May gave up one run on one hit with two strikeouts over 2 1/3 innings, while Berrios tossed two scoreless innings, allowing three hits and two walks with four strikeouts. But neither reached their allotted three innings, and Twins manager Paul Molitor is looking for more economical performances going forward from the two pitchers, who are both working to refine their deliveries.
"Both of those guys burned through their pitches pretty quickly today," Molitor said. "It's going to happen from time to time. But efficiency is something you look for during a season, and it's something they're going to have to figure out to be more consistent."
May, making the transition from the bullpen, has worked to shorten his stride, and has had better results out of the windup than out of the stretch. He's changed the way he grips the ball in his glove as part of his delivery, as Molitor and Torii Hunter saw that he was tipping pitches by the way he was moving his hand in his glove.
May is also working on staying on his back foot in the stretch, but has to be quicker to home with runners on. He allowed a stolen base in the first that led to a run after a groundout and a sac fly. He's watched video of aces such as Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgarner and Zack Greinke to get a better feel for the balance they have with their back leg.
"It's really been going on with the stretch," May said. "I'm much slower in the windup with my leg kick, and when I get up to my point to throwing, I slow everything down and stay on my back foot a lot longer. Now, it's all about making some different adjustments to keep that shorter stride and some of those mechanical things."
Berrios, who is set to leave on Monday to train in Arizona with Team Puerto Rico, has also worked to fix his delivery with a similar issue. He also struggled with tipping pitches, but more with the way he gripped the ball as he took it behind his back as part of his windup. He's worked to shorten his arm path and has been mostly happy with the results.
Berrios had some lapses in command, as evidenced by two walks in his first inning, but also showed his plus-stuff with four strikeouts.
"I changed my windup," Berrios said. "I'm trying to be out front and then have my foot hit first before my arm. That's what I'm working on now. I have to throw first-pitch strikes to be great. I'm working on that, and now I'm going to the WBC, but I'm going to keep competing and working on my stuff."
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, **Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter [@RhettBollinger](https://twitter.com/RhettBollinger)** and listen to his podcast.