FORT MYERS — The Minnesota Twins had their three-way race to win a roster spot as a left-handed reliever pared down to two Friday morning when eight-year veteran Gabe White announced his retirement.
The Boston Red Sox tagged White for two runs in one inning on Thursday night, but the 34-year-old said Friday he began to feel pain in his elbow after three batters.
He decided to retire after a night of soul searching.
"I just laid awake all night last night staring at the TV," White said. "Just physically and mentally, it's just time to move on. Just time to let somebody else do it."
White finished his career with a 34-26 record. He had his best season in 2000 — 11-2, 2.17 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 83 innings — with Colorado.
White was a member of the 2003 Yankees team that lost to the Florida Marlins in the World Series and spent last spring with the Atlanta Braves. He pitched in six games for St. Louis in 2005, and was a non-roster invitee to Twins camp this spring.
"He came out and gave us everything he had," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It just wasn't going to work for him. He didn't think he had the stuff to get people out anymore."
Another left-hander that will get a long look is 2004 first-round draft pick Glen Perkins, who went 3-2 with a 2.13 ERA in nine starts last season for the Single-A Fort Myers Miracle before being promoted to Double-A New Britain. Perkins struck out three batters over two innings of relief Friday against Cincinnati.
"It was impressive to me to watch him come right after the hitters," Gardenhire said.
TWINS SEE REDS: Minnesota fell to 1-1 on the spring with a 9-1 loss to a split-squad Cincinnati Reds team Friday afternoon at Hammond Stadium.
Reds third baseman Edwin Encarnacion went 3-for-4, blasting a pair of home runs and knocking in three, while Tuffy Rhodes, a Cincinnati native trying to return to the big leagues after leaving for Japan in 1996, went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Ruben Sierra, who Gardenhire said will play some first base this spring, drove in the Twins' lone run with a single that scored Denard Span in the bottom of the eighth. Span hit .339 in 49 games last season for the Miracle before being promoted to New Britain.
Twins starter Brad Radke surrendered three earned runs on three hits in two innings.
SPRING TRAINING - 2007
- INTERACTIVE MULTIMEDIA: See our Spring Training Guide
- ON THE WEB: Go to our special Spring Training section
- PODCAST: 2006 Sawx pawdcast featuring Dana Oppedisano
- PODCAST: 2006 Twins podcast featuring Paul Pfiefer
- AUDIO: Spring training audio interviews
- PHOTO: Spring training photos
- VIRTUAL STADIUM:Red Sox-City of Palms park
- VIRTUAL STADIUM:Twins- Hammond Stadium
HOMER HUNTER: Twins center fielder Torii Hunter hit a no-doubt home run to left on his first swing of the spring Thursday night off Red Sox starter Jonathan Papelbon.
White's departure leaves Darrell May and Dennys Reyes, who is out of camp representing Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, as the top two contenders. May pitched two scoreless innings in relief Thursday night.
The blast wowed the crowd and surprised Hunter, who said he was trying to drive a fastball to right-center, but wound up pulling a hanging slider.
"That was an accident," Hunter said. "I was just trying to make contact. I was running down to first base looking at the ball go out, and I was like, 'Was that me?' I was shocked myself."
TODAY'S GAMES: Boof Bonser will take the mound at 1:05 p.m. when the Twins play the Cleveland Indians at Hammond Stadium. Minnesota also sends a split squad to St. Petersburg to play the Devil Rays. Right-handed prospect Scott Baker will pitch against Seth McClung in that contest.
TWIN BILLS: Cincinnati traded White to Colorado for Manny Aybar in April 2000. The Rockies then traded White back to the Reds in 2001 with Luke Hudson for Pokey Reese and Twins teammate Reyes. ...