Pitchers take hitting drills for Interleague Play

Pitchers take hitting drills for Interleague Play

SAN DIEGO -- Twins pitchers spent the last homestand working on hitting and baserunning drills to prepare themselves for Interleague Play, and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire believes they're ready for National League rules.

The results might not be pretty, however, as veterans Kevin Correia and Ricky Nolasco are the only two pitchers in the rotation with much experience at the plate, as they both played several years in the NL but didn't have much success offensively. Nolasco is a career .138 hitter with a homer and 12 doubles in 369 career at-bats, while Correia is a career .113 hitter with five doubles in 283 at-bats.

Right-hander Phil Hughes was the best of the bunch during batting practice, launching several home runs, but is 0-for-4 in his career at the plate.

But Gardenhire said the biggest key is simply not getting injured out there, and he believes his pitchers got their proper work in during the homestand to get ready for Interleague Play. All five starting pitchers will get a chance to hit, as the Twins play five games against the Padres and Giants this week.

"They're doing fine," Gardenhire said. "It's a quick trip here and then San Francisco. But we're excited about it. We got our swings in. We got our bunting in. We got our baserunning in. So they're all prepared for this, so we'll see how it all turns out."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.