PORT CHARLOTTE, FLA. – While most of the veterans stayed back at Hammond Stadium to face the Phillies in a split-squad game, Trevor Larnach’s roadshow headed north.
Larnach blasted his second home run in as many days in the Twins’ 10-8 victory over Tampa Bay at the Charlotte Sports Park on Wednesday.
After drawing a walk and scoring in the second, Larnach struck out to end the third. But in the sixth, he got hold of a Colin Poche pitch and sent it sailing over the left field fence for a two-run homer that brought the Twins within 5-4 at the time. Larnach is 3-for-8 in four spring appearances with two homers, three RBI and four runs scored. His nine total bases lead the Twins.
Larnach, the 20th overall pick out of Oregon State in 2018, likely will start the season at Class AA Pensacola, where he hit .295 with seven homers and 22 RBI in 43 games last year. A lefthanded hitter, Larnach’s power in college was to center and left. He’s worked on pulling the ball more as a professional, but Poche’s offering was right in his old wheelhouse.
“He’s got strength the other way,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “That’s usually a sign. Most good major league hitters who have a little strength and can drive the ball the other way, a lot of the good guys have that ability.”
So far in camp, Larnach has been soaking up any advice present and past Twins in camp have to offer.
“Learning from the older guys, you’ve got Donaldson, Torii Hunter, [Nelson] Cruz, even the younger guys, [Max] Kepler, [Byron] Buxton, I could go on and on,” Larnach said. “Just picking their brains, seeing what makes them successful, seeing what the separator is for guys that have been in the big leagues for 20-plus years or whatever it is, and for guys that just go up and down.”
Larnach is a corner outfielder, but he has been a designated hitter early in camp because of a sore right shoulder.
“I had a funky throwing motion last year,” Larnach said. “Through a full season, that’s probably what hurt it. Just progressing slowly. I’m up to 200 feet now, it’s feeling good.”
The Twins fell behind 5-2 through four innings before a late rally. They scored four in the seventh to take a 8-5 lead, with Trey Cabbage’s two-run single the big hit. Caleb Hamilton added a long two-run homer in the eighth.
La Velle E. Neal III