Twins (ss) 12, Indians 5
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP)—Cliff Lee’s arm was hanging. Unfortunately, so were a few of his pitches.
Lee, an 18-game winner for Cleveland last season, was roughed up for five runs in four innings as a split squad of Minnesota Twins rolled to a 12-5 exhibition win over the Indians on Thursday.
The left-hander had little trouble getting the first nine outs, but Lee couldn’t do much with the Twins after that.
“I felt good until the fourth,” Lee said. “I wasn’t hitting my spots, got behind and they scored a bunch of runs. It was one of those days.”
In the fourth, Jason Kubel hit an RBI double, Luis Rodriguez had a run-scoring single, Lee walked Jason Tyner with the bases loaded and Nick Punto hit a sacrifice fly when Minnesota scored four times to take a 6-2 lead.
“The first three innings went fine,” Lee said. “The last one was one of those things. My arm was dead and kind of dragging. Hopefully, in the next week or so I can get out of that tired stage and go into the season strong.”
Lee was solid from start to finish last season as his 18 wins were the most by a Cleveland left-hander since 1988. He finished fourth in the AL Cy Young voting. The Indians would like to sign the 27-year-old to a long-term contract, and his agent has had talks with Cleveland GM Mark Shapiro this spring.
“If it gets done, great,” said Lee. “But contract or no contract, I’m still going to be around here for a long time. It’s great that they feel that way about me.”
Shawn Wooten and Doug Deeds added homers for the Twins.
Sierra was the one who got things started, though. The 40-year-old, who played the past 2 1/2 seasons for the New York Yankees, gives the Twins a valuable weapon off the bench: an experienced hitter who knows his way around the league.
“We’ve had a bunch of young guys in that role in the past,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He was looking for a job. We always respected him. He’s done enough damage to us over the years, so we figured why not bring him over to our side.”
May, who has been with Kansas City, San Diego and the Yankees the past two seasons, is among a group of left-handers trying to win a bullpen job. He had to start because the Twins are short on starters with Johan Santana and Carlos Silva away from the club at the World Baseball Classic.
“He’s mixed in there with a few guys,” Gardenhire said of May, who allowed two runs and five hits in three innings. “He has thrown the ball well for us.”
Indians OF Todd Hollandsworth made a beautiful diving catch on the warning track in the third to rob Joe Mauer of extra bases and RBIs. … The Twins reassigned RHP Matt Garza to their minor league camp. … RHP Kaz Tadano was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo, one of six players dropped from the Indians’ spring training roster. … Cleveland has homered in 15 of 18 games. … Indians C Victor Martinez and RHP Rafael Betancourt rejoined the club after playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. Both will play in their first game of the spring on Friday in Bradenton, Fla., against Pittsburgh.