Prospect Berrios, Santana get work vs. Minor Leaguers

Prospect Berrios, Santana get work vs. Minor Leaguers

FORT MYERS, Fla.-- After dominant performances in Thursday's 8-2 win over the Red Sox, Twins right-handers Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios struggled on Tuesday against the organization's Minor Leaguers.

Berrios, who allowed just an infield single in three innings last week, was unable to command his two-seam fastball for much of Tuesday, especially in the second. During that frame, he hit two batters and issued a walk. In total, Berrios surrendered five runs on two hits, throwing 63 pitches (30 strikes).

Santana surrendered four runs on nine hits over four innings after tossing three perfect frames against Boston, in which he threw just 26 pitches. On Tuesday, he tossed 65 pitches (47 strikes).

While both players didn't like Tuesday's outcomes, neither is putting too much stock in their outings.

"Down there, they see anything white, they swing," Santana said with a smile. "In the Majors, they take more pitches. Down there they are swinging."

Added Berrios: "Baseball is baseball. They know we throw a lot of strikes. They did well today."

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Santana's biggest focus on Tuesday was getting the ball down and making sure he could work in his changeup to righties.

Berrios lamented after the game that he was having trouble with his release point.

"I got a little tired because I was rushing," Berrios said. "I wanted my body and my arm to be in the same position, but it was a little off today and I was rushing."

While Santana is a lock for the starting rotation and will likely be the team's Opening Day starter, Berrios is competing for the final spot in the rotation with Ricky Nolasco, Tommy Milone and Trevor May.

"I know I am competing for one spot here. I try to do my work," Berrios said. "Today, I lost a little bit of my command, but my mind is strong."

Santana, an 11-year veteran, has done his best during the spring to mentor Berrios, who is the team's top pitching prospect and No. 19 overall by MLBPipeline.com.

"We've been talking the whole spring. He's been doing a very good job," Santana said. "He works fast, throws strikes and isn't afraid to throw any pitch in any count. That's the ability that he has."

Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.