CLEVELAND -- Justin Morneau remembers when former Twins third baseman Corey Koskie held a campout with the homeless in the middle of winter.
Koskie's contributions to the community served as inspiration for Morneau to also reach out to the community. For the second time in his career, Minnesota's first baseman has been selected as the club's nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award for his dedication to giving back to the community. Voting is under way through Oct. 14 at MLB.com/ClementeAward as fans help decide which of the 30 club winners will receive this year's distinction.
"It's pretty cool," Morneau said. "There are a lot of people who do a lot of good things in the game, and in this clubhouse. There are other guys who are deserving to be nominated, as well. It's always an honor to have your name mentioned in the same sentence as Roberto Clemente, with all of the things that he did."
Growing up in Canada, Morneau appreciated the charitable efforts of Trevor Linden of the Vancouver Canucks and Larry Walker, a slugger for the Expos, Rockies and Cardinals. For each RBI he tallies, Morneau dedicates $100 to help renovate youth ball fields. He contributes to the Arthritis Foundation, Como Zoo and Conservatory, Salvation Army and Twins Community Fund. Morneau's Mounties has provided more than 10,000 Twins game tickets to the families of the U.S. military since 2009.
"You always wish you could do more, but every little bit makes a difference," Morneau said. "We're in a position of strength and a position for people to look up to someone to do things right. As good or bad as we're playing on the field, you can always help somebody out in a positive way off the field."
Florimon, Escobar giving Twins sneak preview
CLEVELAND -- The Twins will have a whole cast of characters competing for the middle-infield positions in Spring Training. For now, the club is getting a sneak preview.
Among the candidates under consideration, manager Ron Gardenhire deemed Pedro Florimon and Eduardo Escobar as intriguing options. Florimon has played nearly every day over the last month and is hitting .237 in 93 at-bats. Gardenhire didn't pencil the 25-year-old into Tuesday's batting order, preferring to give Florimon a second straight off-day, saying he appeared frustrated and tired after committing an error in Sunday's loss to the White Sox.
"He's not going to make the team this year. He'll do that in Spring Training," Gardenhire said. "But it's nice to see him out there and see what we have coming in. ... He's definitely put his name in the hat, and that's what you want to do."
Minnesota acquired Escobar as part of the deal with the White Sox for southpaw Francisco Liriano in July. He batted .207 in 36 games for the White Sox and hit .208 with four RBIs in his first seven contests with the Twins. Gardenhire said he would like to see more of him.
"He sat on the bench an awful lot over there," Gardenhire said. "A guy like him really needs to be playing. That's why we sent him to Triple-A, to let him get more at-bats down there."
The Twins opted not to recall Brian Dozier when Major League rosters expanded on Sept. 1. Gardenhire said, though, that Dozier could be a factor at a number of positions when Spring Training arrives. All in all, the skipper likes the variety of options at his disposal.
"You can definitely raise some eyebrows this time of year," Gardenhire said. "But, we're not going to set a team until we get to Spring Training next year and see how the spring goes."
As season winds down, ailing Twins finally mending
CLEVELAND -- Twins general manager Terry Ryan realized the jinx he might have imposed the instant he finished the sentence.
"We may be as healthy today as we've been in quite a while," Ryan said before Tuesday's game against the Indians.
Reliever Matt Capps flew to Florida on Tuesday and will participate in the instructional league on Wednesday. The right-hander has been shelved with right rotator cuff irritation since mid-July.
Catcher Joe Mauer (back) and catcher/outfielder Ryan Doumit (oblique) returned from injuries on Sunday. The club activated Denard Span from the 15-day disabled list last Wednesday after the center fielder recovered from a sprained joint in his collarbone. Right-hander P.J. Walters, who started Tuesday's game, spent two-and-a-half months on the DL earlier this season with right shoulder inflammation.