FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has said this spring that he will try his utility-infield candidates all around the field, and on Monday that included playing Luke Hughes at shortstop for a brief stint.Hughes, who is in competition with Matt Tolbert and Trevor Plouffe for the utility infield spot, homered for the fourth time this spring in Monday's 9-0 victory over the Marlins and raised his team-leading RBI total to 13. He's continued to impress the coaching staff with his bat, but the team also used the game as an opportunity to play him in the outfield and at shortstop for the final three innings. "I think they are all having to do that," Gardenhire said of moving his utility-infield candidates around the field. "You've seen us put them all at first base -- all those guys that are battling for these jobs. They've played first base, they've played third base, they've moved to the outfield. Every one of them has done the same thing, basically." One possible knock on Hughes' chances to get the spot seems to be the fact that he doesn't have much experience at shortstop. But Gardenhire indicated Monday that his utility infielder doesn't necessarily have to be very adept at the position, because Tsuyoshi Nishioka can be shifted over there for a short period of time if necessary. "I don't ask for utility guys to be Gold Glovers or anything like that," Gardenhire said. "I just ask them to be serviceable players that go out and make the routine play or get the routine out. That's kind of what we're looking at here from all of those guys."
Good chance Mauer will DH on Wednesday
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Joe Mauer's first game action of the spring could take place as early as Wednesday afternoon, when the Twins host the Mets at Hammond Stadium.Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Monday there's a "good chance" that Mauer will be the designated hitter in that contest. "It's been talked about," Gardenhire said. "It's not guaranteed, but we said after the day off we'll come in and there is the possibility. We'll talk to him Wednesday morning and see how he's doing after the day off. But he's feeling great. He told me that today. He had a really good day today and it's a good possibility."
2010 Spring Training - Minnesota Twins
News & Features
- Worth noting
- Working on slider, Pelfrey happy to enter year healthy
- De Vries' arm fine, slated to start next Saturday
- Morneau swings on practice field, ready for opener
- Ryan reflects on spring, eager for season to begin
Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
Mauer has been catching bullpen sessions in recent days, and he said that he's getting close to having full strength in his legs following offseason surgery on his left knee. Over the past few weeks, Mauer was receiving injections of synthetic lubricant into his knee as a means of helping him to get through the season. He received a total of three injections.When talking to reporters after catching his first bullpen session on Saturday, Mauer said that he's been noticing his ability to use his left leg more this spring than he did for much of last season. He said that includes being able to use his back leg more when he's hitting. But Mauer is just one of a number of positive health developments for the Twins of late. As recently as a week ago, the Twins were without a number of their everyday players in the lineup. Justin Morneau had not played in a game yet as he was working his way back from last season's concussion, Delmon Young was dealing with a sore big left toe and Michael Cuddyer was sidelined after having a wart removed from his left foot. With Mauer set to return, Cuddyer is the only lineup regular who will have yet to play a game this spring. And the hole in Cuddyer's foot is getting closer to being healed, as he's gotten back on the field for batting practice in recent days. "There are a lot of positives coming out of it right now," Gardenhire said. "We're starting to see some guys actually feeling pretty good about themselves. [Morneau] is feeling really good. Actually, he's not having any signs at all. He's feeling great. He's been talking to his doctors, wanting to push the envelope now, which is a good sign. "Mauer is the same thing. For the first time in the spring, he's feeling good enough to really get involved. He's ready to go."
Slowey not worried about rotation competition
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Kevin Slowey may be in a competition for the fifth spot in the Twins' rotation, but his focus this spring isn't necessarily on the results he's getting in his outings, even the four scoreless innings he threw against the Marlins on Monday."Really, that's sort of by order of the head guys," Slowey said. "They tell us it's not as much about the stat lines as it is about how you felt and the mechanics that you're working on. So for me it was a good day." Slowey has not given up a run over the last 10 innings he's pitched, which included a start in a "B" game against the Pirates, and he has been making a strong push for the rotation. But the right-hander said Monday that he doesn't worry about the fact that he and Scott Baker are competing for that final spot in the rotation, with the other pitcher expected to end up in a bullpen role. "It's not really worth sweating it," Slowey said. "I think you ask any one of the guys in this clubhouse, we'll do anything it takes to help this team win. And I think we've seen that the last couple years. "You've seen a guy like Jim Thome, a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and he doesn't get 300 at-bats last year. He's not complaining one bit. He's talking about how excited he is to be a part of a championship team. I think if a guy like that can be satisfied with just being part of the team, certainly I can do the same."
Target Field up for Facility of the Year Award
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Target Field has been lauded with praise since the Twins kicked off their inaugural season in the ballpark last April. And now, the ballpark has been named a finalist for The Sports Facility of the Year Award by Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily.The winner of the award, which is given to new, renovated or established sports facilities in North America, will be announced on May 18 in New York City. Along with Target Field, the other nominees for the award include Amway Arena (home of the Orlando Magic), Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City Chiefs), Consol Energy Center (Pittsburgh Penguins), New Meadowlands Stadium (New York Giants/Jets), and Red Bull Arena (New York Red Bulls). "The Twins are honored to have been nominated for such a prestigious award," said Twins president Dave St. Peter. "We are immensely grateful to our many partners like Populous, Mortenson Construction, Hennepin County and the Minnesota Ballpark Authority, whose collaboration, ingenuity and support helped make Target Field such a landmark facility."
Second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka is battling a mild quad strain and he did not play on Monday. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that the injury isn't one that would cause Nishioka to miss any games if it were the regular season. ... The Twins' next round of cuts are expected to come on Saturday, Gardenhire said.