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03/30/08 6:57 PM ET
New Twins learning way around
Inside and out, Metrodome takes some getting used to
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Shortstop Adam Everett has played nearly six years in the big leagues, but on Sunday, he admitted that it felt like it was his first day all over again.
"Coming in here this morning and trying to find my way, I felt like I was in my rookie season again trying to figure out where everything was," Everett said with a laugh. "But it's a good change."
Everett, 31, was far from the only player who felt that way Sunday morning when the Twins held their first workout at the Metrodome. The Twins have a total of seven players on their Opening Day roster who are new to the organization, including Everett.
That left Sunday's workout day to be one of adjusting -- on all different levels.
"I got lost getting here today," second baseman Brendan Harris said. "I ended up on I-35 and on my way out of town. I saw the skyline behind me, and figured that probably wasn't a good thing. So hopefully, I can kind of explore a little bit today and get that out of the way."
Players not only had to discover how to get to the Metrodome, but also how to find their way once inside. Rick Olson, who was working security outside the home clubhouse door on Sunday, said that at least four players had to ask how to get down to the field.
"It was interesting to watch them," Justin Morneau said of all the team's new additions. "It's definitely a little confusing the first time you come in [the Metrodome], even finding the clubhouse. But you know, it's something they'll get used to. That's why the guys that have been here are trying to make it feel as comfortable as we can. I think the more comfortable someone feels, the better they play."
Finding your way through the winding hallways and stairwells in the Metrodome is one thing. But for some players, it's just as difficult learning how to play there due to the ballpark's field turf and white roof.
One annual staple during the team's workout before Opening Day is a pop-fly drill to get players readjusted to the roof at the Metrodome. It was bound to be a little more entertaining this year due to so many new faces.
But the team got thrown another loop when their machine to do the drill went missing, leaving them to improvise and try to mimic the conditions as best they could.
"It's always a concern coming in, if you haven't played here," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of the roof. "Balls go up and they get lost. So you try to prepare them as much as you can. We couldn't find our machine today, but we'll try to do a lot more tomorrow."
Third baseman Mike Lamb caught a few of those pop flies, but he spent most of the morning workout getting acquainted with how the ball bounced in his area of the field.
"I was looking forward to today's practice so I would get a chance to see [the turf] before tomorrow," Lamb said. "It's not like I figured it all out in the 15 minutes I was out there, but it was just a chance to see the ball go from the turf, to the dirt and back to the turf again and see what it's going to do."
Figuring out exactly how the Twins will fare with so many new faces seems to be a much more difficult task. The overall feeling was that the team bonded together pretty quickly over the six weeks of Spring Training. But Gardenhire admitted that it will take some time the newness factor to wear off completely.
"It's a whole new group, a different group," Gardenhire said of his club. "And we're going to see how we break down. Are we locked in solid together yet? Probably not. We've got a lot to learn about each other still. But we'll learn as we go along in the season."