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Pirates 3, Twins 1: The return of Joe Mauer and some okay pitching

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Are you sitting down for this one? Okay, get ready: Joe Mauer actually played baseball today (and he did fine).

Minnesota Twins v Detroit Tigers
“Miss me?”

The Twins had some encouraging outings from a handful of pitchers today, but couldn’t really get anything going at the plate.

Of course, the big news today was that Joe Mauer actually played. Joe, making his 2017 spring debut, went 0-for-1 with a hit-by-pitch and a walk. In fact, he reached base in his first two plate appearances without even swinging the bat once. So lazy.

Naturally, Joe struck out in his third at-bat trying to check his swing.

The rest of the Twins lineup was also lazy, but in a sense less preferable to Mauer’s laziness. Robbie Grossman was really the only one who did anything, hitting a double and scoring on a single from Matt Hague. The rest of the team managed only three hits (singles by Zach Granite, Bengie Gonzalez, and J.B. Schuck).

As for the pitchers with encouraging outings, they did not include starter Kyle Gibson, who nearly gave up a home run to the first batter of the game (it stayed in the park for a double). Gibson seemed to struggle his entire outing, and was pulled after 1.2 innings. He gave up two runs on six hits and one walk.

The encouraging pitching outings all came after Gibson was pulled. Four Twins pitchers—Drew Rucinski, Ryan Vogelsong, Craig Breslow, and Stephen Gonsalves—each had scoreless and hit-less outings. Jake Reed and Fernando Romero also did well, each giving up one hit in their scoreless innings of work.

(h/t @MikeBerardino of the Pioneer Press who recorded the videos!)