FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins may have only completed their first full-squad workout of Spring Training on Wednesday, but manager Ron Gardenhire didn't waste any time in answering the question of who will be his Opening Day starter.Carl Pavano will get the start when the Twins open the 2011 season on April 1 at Toronto, Gardenhire said. The manager also confirmed that Pavano will start the Twins' Grapefruit League opener on Sunday night against the Red Sox at Hammond Stadium. "He's starting Spring Training and the regular season," Gardenhire said.
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
First day of workouts a breeze for Nishioka
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- All eyes were on infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka during the Twins' first full-squad workout on Wednesday morning, particularly during the team's well-known Good Morning America fielding drill.Nishioka and his middle infield partner, Alexi Casilla, worked out at both shortstop and second base throughout the morning drills. It was manager Ron Gardenhire's first chance to get a glimpse at Nishioka this spring, and the early reports on the new infielder were favorable. "He's got hands, you can see that," Gardenhire said. "He's got all the actions. But it's really just been one day out on the field. I think you have to get in game situations and see how he handles himself out there." For the first workout, Casilla was called upon to help lead Nishioka through all of the drills and help him be on the correct field at the right time. Through his interpreter, Ryo Shinkawa, Nishioka said that he was able to communicate well with Casilla on the first day and didn't have any problems understanding the drills. "It was pretty similar to what I did in Japan," Nishioka said. "A lot of the fundamental practice was similar." Nishioka seemed thankful to have Casilla by his side to lead him through the first day. He was asked by reporters if he'll have to learn Spanish as well as English to communicate with his new middle-infielder partner. "We'll make a new language, the two of us," Nishioka said. Gardenhire said that he'll wait until he sees more of Nishioka and Casilla together on the field before determining who will play shortstop and second base. But he did say that he was leaning toward Casilla at shortstop if everything works out. "I think he moves to the ball better at shortstop than at second," Gardenhire said of Casilla. "I think he gets complacent sometimes at second, laying back on balls. When he was at shortstop last year, he moved around pretty [darn] good."
Blackburn OK after scary moment in BP
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- There was a scary moment during batting practice on Wednesday afternoon, when Twins starter Nick Blackburn was hit in the side of the head by a ball thrown back to the mound.Catcher Rene Rivera's throw to Blackburn struck the side of the L-shaped screen and ricocheted off it, hitting the pitcher in the side of the face. Blackburn's 10-minute throwing session was ended five minutes early after trainer Rick McWane went out to check on the right-hander, although Blackburn was fine. After the day's workouts were over, Blackburn had a small cut on his left ear, but he said that otherwise, everything was OK. "It wasn't bad -- just made my head ring a little bit," Blackburn said. This isn't the first time that Blackburn has been hit while on the mound. During a game against the Yankees in June 2008, Blackburn was hit in the nose by a Bobby Abreu line drive that had glanced off his glove. The right-hander said that he joked with the trainers after this latest incident that he'd been hit harder than this before. But Blackburn said that his arm was feeling good throwing and that was the big issue. This is just one of the hazards that can come during batting practice in Spring Training. "[Alex] Burnett said he got one that ricocheted off the screen and he was able to catch his," Blackburn said. "Every year there are close calls like that. It happens."
There seemed to be no lingering effects for Justin Morneau from his first informal workout on Tuesday, as he was back doing all of the infield drills and taking batting practice with his team during Wednesday's first full-squad workout. Morneau hit in a group with Michael Cuddyer, Joe Mauer and Justin Huber with Carl Pavano pitching to them. ... The Twins were thought to have agreed to terms with 19-year-old Dominican middle infielder Darfi Ortiz on Wednesday, but the deal has not yet been finalized. In 107 plate appearances in the Dominican Prospect League, Ortiz batted .333 with a .489 on-base percentage and 14 stolen bases. His defense has impressed scouts."We think he's a true infield guy," said Twins vice president of player personnel Mike Radcliff. " We'll see the future strengths and how that parlays into a bat. But he definitely has the hands, the arm and the action to be a middle infield guy." ... Scott Baker (elbow soreness) threw a bullpen session on Wednesday and reported that everything felt fine. He is expected to throw batting practice to hitters on Friday. ... Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said Francisco Liriano (shoulder soreness) will throw another bullpen session on Thursday and if everything goes well, he could then face hitters in his next session.