SARASOTA, Fla. -- It's not very often you see a team hit for the cycle in the four variations of a home run, especially not in order, but it's exactly what the Twins did in their 10-9 win over the Orioles on Tuesday.
"We swung the bats well, particularly early," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It's not one of the largest Spring Training parks, and the ball was carrying, but having said that, Plouffe's was a no-doubter. And Vargas was a strange one because I think it was blowing in from right, and it was an offspeed pitch he hit off the end of the bat, but it still got out into a breeze."
Plouffe's homer, which cleared the seating area in left field, was a positive sign, as the club's starting third baseman entered with a .111 average. Vargas strengthened his hold on the everyday designated hitter role with his third homer of the spring.
It was a big day for Escobar, who has been off to a hot start, hitting .364 with two homers and a team-leading nine RBIs in seven games. He's competing for the starting shortstop job with Danny Santana, but he remains much more likely to open the year as a utility player.
But it was also an important showing for Nunez, who is competing for a spot as a super-utility player off the bench. He went 3-for-4 at the plate, which brought his average up to .375 in six games this spring. Nunez, who is out of Minor League options, said he knows it's a crucial Spring Training for him, so he's been working hard with hitting coach Tom Brunansky and other special instructors, such as Hall of Famer Rod Carew. He said he's comfortable in any role for the Twins, and he feels like he can handle the corner outfield spots as well as second, third and shortstop.
"I'm feeling good," Nunez said. "I'm just trying to get ready for the regular season. I have to prove that I can play every day and that the coaching staff can trust me. They can put me into the game at any part of the game."