03/28/11 6:15 PM ET
Morneau aiming for Twins' Opening Day lineup
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
"That's the goal," Morneau said. "Everything has gone well, so far. I'm not going to get overly excited or anything else. I can't put more into [it] than what it is, but as of right now, that's the plan."
Morneau, who suffered a season-ending concussion last season on July 7 in Toronto, said he has been in constant contact with doctors this spring, and that they ultimately will decide whether he plays in the regular-season opener.
"If everything continues to go well, they have the final say," said Morneau, who added he'll be in contact with doctors through the first half of the season. "Being honest with my feedback is important. As much as I want to be out there for Opening Day, if something's not right, we're not going to risk it. But so far, everything has been good."
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
Morneau finished Grapefruit League play in Florida feeling healthy -- and batted .313 (5-for-16) over his final five games, after starting out the spring going 0-for-13. But he's more satisfied with the way he feels than his results at the plate, and is just excited he's ready to play in exhibition games against the Braves in Atlanta on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"I get to leave with the team, so I'm pretty happy," Morneau said. "So we'll go to Atlanta and see how the trip goes. It's a continuous process with the travel and all that. So hopefully, everything reacts well and continues to go the way it's gone -- so we can go to Toronto for Opening Day. That's the plan."
Twins complete deal for Rule 5 pick Diamond
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins retained left-hander Scott Diamond, a Rule 5 Draft pick from the Braves, working out a trade on Monday to send Minor League right-hander Billy Bullock to Atlanta to complete the deal.
It comes after Twins manager Ron Gardenhire announced on Sunday that the club was not ready to keep Diamond on its 25-man Major League roster for the entire season, but that the Twins were working on a trade to keep him in the organization. Because he was a Rule 5 Draft pick, the Twins were obligated to keep Diamond on their 25-man roster this season, or else they had to offer him back to the Braves.
The Twins, though, placed Diamond on unconditional waivers -- exposing him to every team -- but he passed through because no other teams were comfortable keeping him on their roster the whole season. After Diamond cleared waivers, the club was able to hammer out a deal with the Braves to retain his services.
Diamond, 24, who is now free from the restrictions of the Rule 5 Draft, was optioned to Triple-A Rochester on Monday. Diamond has a career 3.28 ERA in three Minor League seasons in the Braves' organization, striking out 357 and walking 146 in 442 1/3 innings. He's pitched almost exclusively as a starter in the Minors, and is expected to start with Rochester.
"I'm real excited to be a Twin," Diamond said. "Hopefully, I'll get a chance to contribute this year."
Diamond was bothered by a blister on his left thumb this spring -- and hasn't appeared in a Grapefruit League game since March 12, when his blister opened up in a game against the Cardinals. He returned to action in Minor League games this week, including a game watched by Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson on Saturday, when he allowed an unearned run over two innings of work.
Bullock, meanwhile, has a career 3.18 ERA over two Minor League seasons, with 150 strikeouts and 56 walks over 107 2/3 innings as a reliever. The 23-year-old had an impressive 2010 campaign split between Class A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain, with a 3.53 ERA, 105 strikeouts in 74 innings and 27 saves.
"We lost a good pitcher, but you have to give up something to get something," Gardenhire said. "We don't have many lefties in our organization -- as far as starting pitching -- so [Diamond] gives us another lefty with a high ceiling."
Liriano happy with results of final tuneup
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Left-hander Francisco Liriano made his final start of Spring Training on Monday against the Pirates, and was pleased with his last outing before his scheduled start in Toronto on Saturday.
Liriano had his best control of the spring, going six innings with no walks and four strikeouts, while allowing three runs on four hits in the Twins' eventual 4-3 win.
"Today was much better," said Liriano, who finished the spring with a 4.82 ERA. "I had much more control. I was trying to locate, no matter what, and not walk anybody. I was able to get my pitch count up and go deeper into the game."
Twins set Spring Training attendance records
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins announced on Monday that they drew 129,453 fans to Hammond Stadium in 2011, marking a new franchise single-season attendance record for a 16-game season in Ft. Myers. The record for overall attendance was established in 2007, when 129,543 fans attended the stadium over 17 dates.
Additionally, the Twins set the record for the highest single-game attendance in their 21-year history at the Lee County Sports Complex, when they drew 8,347 fans to Hammond Stadium on Monday against the Pirates.
"This is a proud moment in the history of the Twins' longstanding Spring Training history in Lee County," said Paul Froehle, senior director of ticket operations for the Twins. "We are thankful to the fans throughout Twins Territory and Southwest Florida for making 2011 a success before we've even reached the regular season."