Ramirez gets first start with Twins on Sunday
BALTIMORE -- Wilkin Ramirez made his first start with the Twins in right field against the Orioles on Sunday, leaving Darin Mastroianni as the only position player yet to start a game for Minnesota this season.
Ramirez, who made the club as an extra outfielder and pinch-hitter after a strong showing in Spring Training, went 1-for-3 and scored the winning run. He last started in a big league game on July 11, 2011 with the Braves, and has appeared in two games earlier this season as a pinch-hitter, going 1-for-2 with an RBI double. He hit seventh in the lineup on Sunday.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he thought it was a good time to get Ramirez in a game, as Orioles right-hander Jason Hammel is actually tougher on lefties, so left-handed hitter Chris Parmelee -- who homered in Saturday's win -- was benched in favor of Ramirez.
"Righties have some success here against him so it's a good opportunity to get him in there," Gardenhire said. "Parm had a good night there last night and now he can sit back. Wilkin needs some at-bats, and not just pinch-hitting."
Mastroianni, meanwhile, is still nursing a bruised left ankle and isn't ready to play nine innings. But Gardenhire is hoping Mastroianni can start a game in Kansas City this week or next weekend against the Mets.
"He's going to have to go out there and play soon," Gardenhire said. "I've tried to bide my time using him in certain spots but it's about time. They told me a couple days."