Park debuts at Twins' first full workout

Top prospect Berrios, Carew's arrival also draw attention

February 28th, 2016
Korean slugger Byung Ho Park faced teammates Tommy Milone and Michael Tonkin on Saturday in the club's first full-squad workout. (Twins)

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins held their first full-squad workout on Saturday, with pitchers throwing live batting practice to hitters for the first time this spring.

Twins manager Paul Molitor was most curious to see how Korean slugger Byung Ho Park would do facing Major League pitching and was able to watch Park hit against lefty Tommy Milone and right-handed reliever Michael Tonkin. Park ended his round with a hard-hit ball down the third-base line off Tonkin, but did swing and miss at several of Tonkin's sliders.

"It was my first look at him face-to-face as far as watching his swing," Molitor said. "He's got a lot of really positive things, obviously timing is off, it is for everybody right now, but it's good to see him out there working. I think he's adjusting and fitting in really well."

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Milone was the first to face Park, who first tracked pitches without swinging before becoming more aggressive. Milone said it was hard to glean too much information about Park, especially because the pitchers have the advantage this early in camp.

"I hadn't really even seen him take BP before, so there's that anticipation to see how he'd adjust to big league pitching and all that," Milone said. "Obviously, first day facing pitchers, I think we have the advantage at that point. We don't have to time anything. But I'm sure he'll get the hang of it."

Tonkin, who is competing for a spot in the bullpen and is out of Minor League options, had his slider working so well that Park swung through it several times, even when he knew it was coming.

"First pitch, he was swinging and ready to go," Tonkin said. "But he looked good. He made some solid contact on me. But I got him on a couple sliders. Obviously, that's been a little bit of an issue for me. So to get something moving and down at this point is good."

While Tonkin had an impressive showing, it was top pitching prospect Jose Berrios who wowed onlookers at Hammond Stadium. Berrios, ranked as the No. 19 overall prospect by, flashed quality stuff against fellow youngsters Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario while special guest instructors Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins looked on in amazement.

"He's really talented," said catcher John Ryan Murphy. "What sticks out to me is his ability to correct himself immediately. If he misses his location, he corrects immediately and makes an adjustment. And that's hard to do for any pitcher, especially a young one. And everything he throws moves, which is one of the first things you see."

Worth noting

• Reliever Casey Fien's wife, Joann, gave birth to their second child on Saturday morning in Fort Myers. The baby boy, named Shane Maddux, weighed 6 pounds and was 20 inches. Fien missed workouts Saturday, and Molitor wasn't sure when he'd return.

• Hunter arrived at camp as a guest instructor and is set to work with Sano on his defense as he transitions to right field. Hunter, who also will continue to serve as a mentor to Buxton, was his typical fun-loving self, but told the media he didn't want the day to be about him. Hunter said the real story was Rod Carew arriving at camp and the players' first workouts.

• Minor League first baseman Reynaldo Rodriguez was added to the roster for Team Colombia for the World Baseball Classic qualifier. The qualifying round is March 17-20 in Panama, so Rodriguez will miss part of Spring Training.