FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins catcher Joe Mauer has yet to catch a bullpen session this spring, and he might not be catching right away when the club's Grapefruit League schedule kicks off on Sunday, either.Twins manager Ron Gardenhire revealed Tuesday that Mauer had received a shot in his surgically repaired left knee, as he added that the team will continue to be cautious with Mauer's workload this spring while the catcher works his way back from offseason knee surgery. General manager Bill Smith confirmed that Mauer received a shot of medicine on Tuesday to help lubricate his knee joint. Smith said the club will proceed slowly with the All-Star catcher during Wednesday's first full-squad workout before "getting him back to full speed on Thursday." "I want to make sure those things take effect," Gardenhire said of the shot. "He's feeling a lot better. You can see him moving and feeling great and we want to keep it that way. So we're going to kind of guard him and back him off, and we'll eventually get him in the ballgames, too." Mauer has been taking part in the Twins' daily workouts since pitchers and catchers reported on Thursday, but the club has limited how much he's been squatting behind the plate. Gardenhire said the club will continue to limit Mauer's catching duties in the full-squad workouts this week and likely for a short time beyond that. "I'm not thinking that he's going to be catching in the games right away, either," said Gardenhire. "I'm just going to bide my time with that and make sure we get him in situations and get him ready. It's more important for him to see the pitchers on the side, a few bullpens on the side, but I want to make sure we clean that knee up before we get anything going."
Morneau participates in informal workout
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A smattering of applause rang out on one of the back fields at the Lee County Sports Complex on Tuesday morning when Justin Morneau walked onto the field carrying a bat in his hand.It was a sight that certainly many Twins fans have been waiting to see this spring, and the first baseman seemed heartened by the warm greeting that he received from the small crowd of fans. "It's pretty cool," Morneau said of the applause. "Hopefully we'll save it for the first time that we play in a game, whenever that is. But it was nice that people recognize a little bit how long it's been since I've been out there with my teammates." Morneau, who has not played in a game since suffering a concussion on July 7 in a game at Toronto, took part in his first informal Spring Training workout on Tuesday morning. He took batting practice in a group that included Jim Thome, Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer, and then he proceeded to field ground balls at first base while also taking throws from third baseman Danny Valencia and practicing turning double plays with Alexi Casilla and manager Ron Gardenhire. "It felt good," Morneau said of his workout. "I've been hitting for awhile, so it's not much different other than running around out there and being with the boys. It makes it a little bit more enjoyable. "The first day you get out there with your teammates is always fun. I don't know if I'd say it's extra special -- Spring Training usually turns into a grind after about five days no matter what you've been doing, and you can't wait for those games to start. But today was a good day so far. One day at a time." After Morneau was finished in the infield, he spent some time chatting with Gardenhire. "Nice to see him back out on the field and feeling good, and that's what we talked about," Gardenhire said. "We talked a little bit about some of the situations that are going to come up here, and how we're going to handle them -- just get a feel for what his thoughts are. I told him what I wanted to see. Although he's been doing baseball activities over the past few weeks while working out near his home in Arizona, Morneau said that this was the first time that he had hit outside on the field. Morneau wore a protective batting helmet during his hitting session and also sunglasses, which he said he'll be wearing throughout Spring Training since the bright sun can be tough on people recovering from a concussion. While Morneau felt good in the clubhouse after his workout, he said wasn't ready to declare it a success until he sees if the concussion symptoms resurface later in the day. "It's never been during, it's always been later," Morneau said. "So go home, get a good nap in and hopefully feel good later." The expectation is that Morneau will miss at least a week's worth of games at the start of Spring Training. But Gardenhire seemed as happy as anyone to see Morneau back out on the field, even though he knows that there will steps along the way that the first baseman still has to clear before he's declared ready for Opening Day on April 1. "He's got a smile on his face, and he's excited about being out there and not worried about all the other stuff he's had to worry about for so long," Gardenhire said. "Now it just gets to the point where the doctors finally release him to get in games. He's going to be available for live batting practice and all those things."
First 'pen session goes well for Liriano
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Francisco Liriano threw a bullpen session on Tuesday morning and reported no problems afterward.It was first time that Liriano had thrown in the bullpen after arriving to Spring Training with soreness in his left shoulder. Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson and trainer Rick McWane were on hand to watch the session and spoke with Liriano after it was over. Liriano has been working to strengthen his shoulder this week after acknowledging that he likely didn't do enough shoulder work in the offseason. The left-hander appears to be back on track after the early spring setback, and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that he believes the shoulder issue was a result of Liriano trying to do too much, too soon. "They said he threw eight to 10 bullpens, and I don't think too many guys have thrown eight to 10 bullpens," Gardenhire said. "That's a lot of bullpens before Spring Training -- probably wanting to make sure he was ready and probably overdid it a little bit more than anything else."
Tony Oliva, who will serve as a special instructor during Spring Training, arrived in camp on Tuesday morning and was on one of the back fields helping out during batting practice. ... Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Scott Baker will be held out of throwing batting practice on Wednesday and will instead throw in the bullpen. Baker had a small setback as he pushed himself following offseason elbow surgery. ... Outfielder Delmon Young reported to camp on Tuesday morning, which means that all of the Twins players are in camp and ready for Wednesday morning's first full-squad workout.