FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The majority of the Twins' pitchers and catchers made stops inside the clubhouse at Hammond Stadium on Thursday morning, dropping off their stuff at their lockers and many of them getting in a light informal workout before Friday's first official workout.But while many pitchers and catchers made visits to the complex, they were not required to check in at the stadium on Thursday. They are only required to be in attendance for Friday morning's first official workout. Twins general manager Bill Smith said that right now only one pitcher is expected to report late to camp and that's right-hander Yorman Bazardo, who is a non-roster invitee. Smith said that it's a travel issue for Bazardo, a Venezuelan native, and not a visa issue that is delaying the pitcher's arrival to camp.
Hoey looking to start anew with Twins
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Jim Hoey has endured a long road back from the shoulder surgery that he underwent in 2008 but on Thursday, the pitcher said he hopes this spring will be a fresh start with a new organization and a chance to get his career going again."Getting back from the shoulder surgery has been tough, a tough road," Hoey said. "What I've found the hardest -- just getting your flexibility back. Last year was more trying to get my arm strength back and this year is more location. But, I feel like I'm back to my original self." The Twins acquired the hard-throwing right-hander from the Orioles back in December as part of the trade that sent shortstop J.J. Hardy to Baltimore. And now Hoey, 28, is set to compete for one of the many openings in the Twins' bullpen. Hoey, who is 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, gives the Twins a hard-throwing option for their 'pen, which is something the organization has often lacked. Hoey said that he hits 95 or 96 mph consistently with his fastball, topping out around 98 mph, and last summer he worked to develop a splitter that's become his No. 2 pitch. But it was his velocity that certainly garnered the Twins' attention. "One of the things that was attractive about him is he throws hard," general manager Bill Smith said. "In losing Jesse Crain, we lost a guy out of the bullpen that has velocity. So, we were looking for somebody that might be able to step in and provide some of that. Again, he'll be a candidate along with a bunch of guys. But we definitely have spots open." Health has been one of the biggest issues for Hoey in his career. He underwent Tommy John surgery back in 2004 and missed the entire '05 season. Then came the shoulder problems which he said he began battling in 2006. He spent parts of the '06 and '07 seasons with the Orioles, posting a combined 3-5 record with an 8.13 ERA in 34 1/3 innings, but he hasn't thrown a pitch in the Majors since then. "I felt something [in my shoulder] at the beginning of '06 and I just kept throwing with it," Hoey said. "You do have to compensate just to try to throw a strike, and that has hindered my mechanics to where the last two offseasons I really had to focus on getting back to the basics and learning how to pitch again." Hoey spent the 2010 season pitching for Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk in the Orioles' organization, finishing 6-0 with a 3.25 ERA and striking out 70 in 52 2/3 innings. He said he now feels "100 percent healthy" and arrived in Fort Myers on Jan. 2 in order to get a head start with his new organization. The pitcher, who was drafted by the Orioles in the 13th round in 2003, said it was an opportunity to not only to be able throw outside and work out in the warm temperatures, but also to show his new team how serious he is about proving himself this spring. "I'm real excited just to earn a spot," Hoey said. "I don't feel like anything should be given to anybody; you've got to earn it by performing."
Twins like extra helping in rotation
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins have six starters competing for five spots in the rotation this spring, but pitching coach Rick Anderson knows that the depth is something that could end up being very important."You go into this spring with one extra starter," Anderson said. "Spring never comes out how you think it is going to come out. It never does." The two starters that the Twins will be monitoring early are right-handers Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn, who are both coming off cleanup surgeries on their elbows this offseason. Baker has already suffered a minor setback earlier this month, when he pushed a little too hard early this month and battled some inflammation in his elbow. He's going to ease into the early workout in spring, although there is still plenty of time for Baker to be ready for Opening Day on April 1. Blackburn has been progressing well in his recovery and if healthy, he could be a boost to the rotation after pitching with a bone spur and other loose particles in his elbow last season. Anderson said that Blackburn never used the discomfort as an excuse last season. "He didn't complain about his elbow at all, and he gets it cleaned up and there's a bunch of junk in there," Anderson said. "You look at the past previous years, and he was a 200-inning guy and there's no doubt in my mind that he can get back to that. He's a guy who can get you deep into games." Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey, and Brian Duesning are the other starters in camp this spring and with six starting options, the Twins have given themselves protection should any one of their starters suffer a setback and be deemed not ready to go on Opening Day. But for Anderson, the best scenario this spring would be to have all six guys healthy at the end of camp and force the team to make what could be a tough decision on determining who is the odd man out. "In the last few days, if it comes down to that extra starter, we'll make that call," Anderson said.