A 24-year-old who's pitched as high as Triple-A, right-hander Marty Popham held the Major League Twins in check in the early-going before they rallied for an 8-7 exhibition win over the Class A Fort Myers Miracle on Wednesday at Hammond Stadium. The game was the Major League Twins' last at their Spring Training complex for 2012.
"Fun to watch, I got to throw BP to a few of those guys," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of the Miracle. "We saw them as they came over during the course of Spring Training a few of them, we saw some today and we saw the whole team over there today. Which is cool. That's fun to watch. Nice-looking young kids. Good stuff. That's what we're hoping for. I think they're going to have, by looking at their roster, they're going to have a nice little ballclub. They still got to go play, get it done on the field, but they got a nice looking roster."
Popham was a Minor League Rule 5 Draft pick of the Twins in December, from the Indians' organization. He worked around seven hits and allowed one run in four innings, striking out two and walking one.
Nick Blackburn, starting for the big league team, gave up three runs on seven hits in five innings with five strikeouts.
"That was irritating," Blackburn joked. "Today actually felt pretty good. Obviously the results weren't awesome, but my mechanics felt pretty smooth, everything felt like it was coming out of my hands well. Threw my change up well. It was good. I don't feel really bad about anything that happened today."
Sean Burroughs, out for a couple days with a bothersome back, one-hopped a double off the wall to right on the second pitch he saw. Mauer and Burroughs both had multiple hits. Willingham and Morneau each had one hit.
Alexi Casilla, who last played in a Grapefruit League game a week ago Wednesday because of an ailing right knee, went 1-for-3.
Up next: The Twins head to Baltimore where on Friday they open the regular season against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Carl Pavano makes the start for Minnesota against Jake Arrieta in a matchup of right-handers at 2:05 p.m. CT. The Twins have a workout day on Thursday.