LaMarre’s bat keeping him in the hunt for a spot

Published 7:55 am Monday, March 26, 2018

By Brian Murphy

Pioneer Press

FORT MYERS, Fla. —There were no hexes being thrown out of the Twins’ dugout on Friday, no players superstitiously switching places on the bench or turning their hats inside out to end Houston’s pitching prowess.

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Spring training no-hitters are rare and rarely celebrated, so it was inconsequential when Twins non-roster invitee Ryan LaMarre led off the bottom of the ninth with a sharp double to right off Astros minor-league reliever Trent Thornton for Minnesota’s first hit of the afternoon.

But it was another significant moment for LaMarre, a journeyman who is hitting a scorching .486 this spring with a .500 on-base percentage in 35 at-bats. He scored on Tanner English’s two-run homer, which tied the game 2-2, before Twins manager Paul Molitor opted not to play extra innings.

“It’s not like I was 0-for-2 or 0-for-3 going into that at bat,” LaMarre said. “I just wanted to get some good wood on it. They threw some good arms today. There’s a reason they’re the defending world champs.”

LaMarre is a long shot to nail down a reserve outfielder’s role behind Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Zack Granite and Robbie Grossman. But his versatility and escalating production at the plate are turning heads.

“He’s put himself in the mix here at the end, either way,” said Molitor.

LaMarre, a University of Michigan product, was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in the 2010 second round. He played 21 games for the Reds in 2015 and another five with Boston the next year, hitting a combined .054 (2 for 37) with 14 strikeouts.

“You hear about swing changes and different things he’s trying to do,” Molitor said. “He’s had a nice camp. He plays outfield well. And he’s been taking good at-bats all spring.”

LaMarre, 29, is simply enjoying the ride with his fifth major-league franchise.
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