Twins’ Jose Miranda near-ready to show full benefits of offseason work
Miranda is supposed to play in the field for the first time in the coming days, perhaps as soon as Tuesday after the Twins’ off day.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jose Miranda spent his offseason slimming down and getting himself into better playing shape. But the Minnesota Twins haven’t yet gotten a chance to see all of the benefits of Miranda’s physical conditioning.
The third baseman has yet to play a game in the field, dealing with a sore right shoulder that has relegated him to a designated hitter role only and prevented him from competing in the World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico.
That’s soon to change.
Miranda is supposed to play in the field for the first time in the coming days, Baldelli said — it may be a major league game, may be a minor league game — perhaps as soon as Tuesday after the Twins’ off day. That’ll be at first base before the Twins move him back to third base — a much bigger test for his shoulder.
Miranda said his shoulder got progressively worse earlier this spring, prompting him to finally tell the training staff, at which point he was shut down from throwing. Now, as the Twins have built him back up with a shoulder progression, the infielder said it feels “way better” than it has in the past weeks.
“He needs to be on his feet. He needs to be out there making plays and staying loose and accelerating and moving around and then coming in and having his at-bat and running the bases,” Baldelli said. “You’re definitely not getting the same kind of workload (at DH).”
No, he isn’t. But while he’s been sidelined from playing the infield, he’s been plenty good at the plate this spring.
Even when his shoulder pain was at its worst, Miranda said, it didn’t affect him in the batter’s box, where he’s hit .269 with a 1.079 OPS and three home runs this spring. And that he credits in part to his revamped training program this offseason while back home.
“Right now, I feel I have more bat speed than last year. I feel that I have a lot more power than last year, which was one of the things I told my trainer going into the offseason,” Miranda said. “I told him I wanted to lose some weight, I wanted to be in better shape, but I wanted to gain strength. I didn’t want to lose any strength. So he told me, ‘OK, I’ve got the perfect plan for you, so let’s make it work.’”
The Twins expect his hard work to pay dividends in the field, too.
With Gio Urshela out of the picture, Miranda is ready for a move back to third base, his primary position in the minors. There, Baldelli said, he has been working on his lateral movement as he seeks to improve his defense.
“Especially right now where every position player is going to have to completely fend for themselves and get to every ball that they can, that is going to matter,” Baldelli said. “That’s why he’s focusing on it. He’s giving himself and the team everything he has.”
And the Twins are ready to soon see it all in action as Miranda nears his return to the field.
“I feel way better. I can move way better than last year,” Miranda said. “My swings, especially those inside fastballs, I think I can get to them easier than last year. And overall, it just feels good. It feels better to be in better shape, less weight, so it’s good.”
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