NORTH PORT, Fla. — The ball kept on carrying until it was out of sight, flying clear past the green batter’s eye in straightaway center field.
There’s no distance data readily available for Trevor Larnach’s second-inning home run Tuesday, Feb. 25, but it traveled well past 400 feet and was an impressive show of power from the 22-year-old — off a major league all-star, no less.
Not bad for the Twins’ 2018 first-round draft pick. Larnach, the team’s No. 4 prospect according to MLBPipeline, took Atlanta pitcher Mike Foltynewicz deep in the second inning of the team’s 4-4 exhibition game tie with the Braves on Tuesday at CoolToday Park.
“Anytime I can produce a run, no matter how it is, I’ll enjoy it,” Larnach said. “Obviously it’s spring training, and if you’re on a big-league stage with spring training, it’s going to feel that much better. For me, I’m just focused on the process of being on time and being more consistent.”
Larnach went 2-for-2 with a walk, scored two runs and stole a base in the game. An outfielder, he served as the Twins’ designated hitter Tuesday as he deals with what manager Rocco Baldelli called a “very mild sore shoulder.”
Larnach, who was the Twins’ Minor League Player of the Year in 2019, is on a throwing program as he works his way back to the field.
“I had a funky throwing motion last year,” he 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. I’m grateful to have the trainers and staff the Twins have to lead me in the right direction for that.”
But the sore shoulder doesn’t seem to be affecting Larnach’s bat one bit.
“His swing feels fine, as you can see,” Baldelli said.
Max Kepler has been dealing with soreness in his upper back, Baldelli said Tuesday, which is why the outfielder had yet to appear in a spring training game.
Baldelli said the soreness was not related to the injury Kepler suffered at the end of last season. Kepler had been dealing with pain in his scapula area last year that held him out for much of September.
“He’s ramping up right now as we speak and we’ll get him out there, I would say, in the next few days for his first game,” Baldelli said. “We’re going to get him a lot of work in right field, some occasional work in center field. He’s had a really good camp. He’s had a really good offseason. With the issues that he was dealing with last year, I think he’s eager to put those to bed and just get out there and go play. He looks good, too. He looks good physically.”
Tyler Webb, the Twins’ 40th-round pick in 2018, hit a game-tying home run in the top of the ninth inning. … Mitch Garver and Miguel Sano were the two regulars who made the 50-mile trip north to North Port. Garver went 1-for-3 in the game, and Sano went 0-for-3. … Zack Littell threw two scoreless innings in relief of Jhoulys Chacin. Littell struck out three in his outing. Cody Stashak also pitched an efficient 1-2-3 inning.