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Astudillo wows Twins with powerful BP show

February 18, 2019

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- All 59 players reported on time for Monday's first full-squad workouts at Twins camp, which were punctuated by a pair of homers in live batting practice by -- who else -- Willians Astudillo, drawing murmurs and whoops from his teammates in the dugout."It's amazing, isn't it?"

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- All 59 players reported on time for Monday's first full-squad workouts at Twins camp, which were punctuated by a pair of homers in live batting practice by -- who else -- Willians Astudillo, drawing murmurs and whoops from his teammates in the dugout.
"It's amazing, isn't it?" manager Rocco Baldelli said. "It's like he was the winter ball MVP. It's almost like he was playing a little baseball [in the winter]. He looked good. He put good swings on the ball. He's a guy who has those unique skills, where you can take a few days off or a week -- whatever he takes off, I would bet on him being able to come in and put good swings on the ball."
:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::
Astudillo, who finished as the runner-up in the Most Valuable Player Award voting in the Venezuelan Winter League, hit homers off of staff ace José Berríos and closer candidate Trevor May, with the latter jack landing at the top of the grassy hill beyond the left-field wall.
In a break from tradition, the Twins conducted batting practice without any on-field equipment -- a cage around the batters or an "L" screen for the pitchers -- to better mimic realistic playing conditions.

"I understand why people use them -- it makes a lot of sense in some ways," Baldelli said. "Our guys, they seem ready to go and the pitchers, they seem more comfortable out there when they're just able to throw. I thought it worked out very well."
Sano watches workouts
Miguel Sanó was in uniform on Monday, but he did not participate in any drills, instead watching from the sidelines. Baldelli didn't offer an update on the condition of his third baseman, who sustained a laceration in his right heel area around the end of the Dominican Winter League playoffs last month, but Baldelli expects to have further information on Tuesday.

"[He's] still continuing to be assessed," Baldelli said. "I was glad that he was able to come out and join us, lay his eyes on some of the infield work and some of the shifting. Everything that the infielders are doing, I'd love for him to be out there and be a part of in the meantime. And he was happy to come out, he was in a good mood and he's feeling great."
Takes on spring pitch clock
Taylor Rogers: "I was actually one of the original guinea pigs in the [Arizona] Fall League in 2014. I didn't notice any type of change. Obviously, this is a pitcher's bias, but it's always the hitters. We're waiting on the hitters to get into the box. My brother, who was in Triple-A all year, said there was never a point in time when a pitcher got a ball. It was always a hitter receiving a strike because the hitter was late. On the flip side, I think that you don't necessarily need it in the big leagues yet, because everybody coming up to the big leagues is going to be used to that clock and have that routine set within 20 seconds, so I think as they kind of come up and those guys start to wean out, then the game will just speed up from everybody's routines being used to that."
Kyle Gibson: "It is an adjustment, but it's not such an end-all. Because unless they put in rules to get around it, there's ways to get around it. You really just have to take a sign within 20 seconds. If you get your sign, you come set and you step off, the 20 seconds resets. So there are ways to get around it. But there are ways it can help."
Trevor Hildenberger: "I don't think I noticed it in the Minor Leagues very much. I usually work pretty fast, so I don't think it'll be a huge issue for me. Get rosin real quick, clean off my cleats real quick, it shouldn't be a problem."
Worth noting
• Infielder Dean Anna, who was originally invited to Major League camp as a non-roster invitee, instead opted for retirement. The 32-year-old Anna appeared in 13 Major League games with the Yankees and Cardinals from 2014-15 after being selected in the 26th round of the 2008 MLB Draft.

Do-Hyoung Park covers the Twins for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark and on Instagram at dohyoung.park.