Twins' players take part in unique spring drills

Twins' players take part in unique spring drills

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Minnesota Twins are having a ball with drills at Spring Training.

Of course, there are the thousands of baseballs the club brought down to Fort Myers. There are even more than a few golf balls floating around the clubhouse.

Spring: Tickets | Ballpark | 40-man roster | NRIs

But it's some balls you might not expect that the Twins hope give them an edge this spring.

Pitcher Kyle Gibson has been using a specially weighted inflatable ball during his throwing program. The veteran right-hander started using it during his time with strength coach Randy Sullivan at the Florida Baseball Ranch in Plant City this winter. The "connection" ball, about the size of a beach ball, is held between the forearm and bicep of his throwing arm during drills to promote a more controlled delivery all the way through each pitch.

"I'm trying to clean up my arm motion a little bit and hopefully make it more efficient," Gibson said. "It puts less stress on my arm. Less stress on my back."

J.B. Shuck taking part in an agility drill with racquetballs.J. Scott Butherus

Another type of ball you don't usually see around camps is a racquetball, which Twins strength and conditioning coach Perry Castellano uses in one of his agility drills. During the drill, which is designed to increase agility and footwork, players have to track down a rapid-fire succession of bouncing racquetballs that are thrown in random directions, forcing players to rapidly change directions.

"That one wears you out," outfielder Byron Buxton said, after completing his turn with the drill on Monday.

J. Scott Butherus is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.