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Paddack throws a new pitch, Twins take spring opener over Gophers

FORT MYERS, FLA. – The Twins honored departing Gophers head coach John Anderson before Friday's exhibition game at Hammond Stadium, which included a $20,000 donation to the University of Minnesota, then scored a run in four consecutive innings as a parting gift.

To kick off the spring training game schedule, the Twins rolled to a 13-2 victory in their opener, which was called during the nine-run eighth inning. Minor leaguers Michael Helman and Jake Rucker homered, and Chris Paddack recorded five outs in his first start of the spring.

Paddack permitted one hit — a single to left field by Boston Merila, the son of Gophers great Mark Merila — while recording two strikeouts and one walk over 38 pitches. He focused on throwing his cutter in his second inning, a pitch he started throwing after recovering from Tommy John surgery.

"I've seen guys throw it, but I've never thrown it," Paddack said. "I'm trying to learn how to use it in certain counts, aggressive hitters, behind in the count, whatever that might be."

Paddack threw his 84 mph cutter four times in the second inning. The results included a swing-and-miss and a rolled-over ground ball to first base.

"There's still some room to throw it harder," Paddack said.

In addition to the monetary donation to the U, Paul Molitor briefly addressed the announced crowd of 4,307 to praise Anderson, noting his 95% graduation rate, and Anderson threw the ceremonial first pitch to Glen Perkins.