By Mike Berardino
FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — While most of his Minnesota Twins teammates headed home for the day, right-hander Ricky Nolasco stayed at Hammond Stadium after Thursday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals was rained out and threw a simulated game.
Working in the covered batting cages to a handful of extra players, Nolasco threw between 50 and 60 pitches under the close watch of Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson.
Signed to a four-year, $49 million contact this offseason, Nolasco was working on three days' rest in his simulated game.
Using all of his pitches, Nolasco threw about 20 pitches at a time before taking two separate breaks to simulate an offensive inning for the Twins.
"It's not about visualizing," Nolasco said. "It's just executing pitches. Those guys are standing in there like hitters, so you just narrow it down and execute pitches. The effort is the biggest thing. It was tough to get going, but I thought I did a good job of getting a lot out of it."
Nolasco last pitched on Sunday at Port Charlotte, throwing just 22 pitches in his two-inning spring debut with his new organization.
Cardinals: Right-hander Adam Wainwright chose not to throw a simulated game after the rainout. He is slated to start Friday's game in Jupiter, Fla., against the Miami Marlins. Wainwright's pitch limit should be right around 40.
"At this point it really doesn't matter a whole lot," Wainwright said of the rainout. "I'll still be able to get some good work in and be ready."
Twins: Nolasco expects to make his next start in five days. That would be Tuesday at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cardinals: Outfielder Oscar Taveras, Baseball America's No.3 overall prospect, made the three-hour bus ride from Jupiter and tested his balky ankle in drills on a back field. Taveras, who has yet to play this spring, slid into bases and could see game action this weekend.
Twins: Outfielders Oswaldo Arcia (illness) and Aaron Hicks (right elbow irritation) were scratched from Thursday's original lineup. Arcia had the chills and a stomach virus that affected him overnight. Hicks, meanwhile, said he felt a "little discomfort" in the elbow/triceps area while taking extra swings in the batting cage Thursday morning. Both Arcia and Hicks are day to day.
CARPENTER'S CONTRACT: Cardinals All-Star infielder Matt Carpenter is nearing agreement on a six-year contract in excess of $52 million, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Carpenter, 28, led the majors with 126 runs scored last season and led the National League with 199 hits. Without a new deal, Carpenter could be eligible for salary arbitration after the 2014 season.
The former 13th-round draft pick is making the full-time move to third base this season.
PITCHING PLANS: The Twins are playing their first "B'' game of the spring on Friday morning in Bradenton against the Pirates. Veteran right-hander Kevin Correia will start, with top pitching prospect Alex Meyer following him to the mound.
In the afternoon, right-hander Vance Worley will make his second start of the spring. Former first-rounder Kyle Gibson is slated to pitch second.
Gibson's wife, Elizabeth, is due with the couple's first child on Sunday. She will have the baby in Fort Myers, where the University of Missouri product makes his offseason home.