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02/21/12 3:11 PM EST

Twins likely to leave camp with three catchers

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins are widely expected to carry three catchers to start the season, but manager Ron Gardenhire said he plans on keeping his options open.

Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit are locks to the make the club as the primary backstops, but the Twins appear likely to add another catcher to the roster.

Drew Butera, who is on the 40-man roster, remains the favorite to win the job because of his defense and familiarity with Twins pitchers. But J.R. Towles, a former top prospect with the Astros, is expected to push him this spring.

Gardenhire, however, said he didn't want to make any official announcements yet about keeping three catchers.

"I have no thoughts," Gardenhire said. "I just want to let it play itself out. At the end of spring we'll see what the baseball team is going north. We'll see how we get through it. We'll make those decisions at the end. But if you've been around me, you know I've never had a problem with three catchers if I have a good enough baseball team to carry three catchers and have enough thump from the other positions that I don't have to worry."

Morneau needs medical clearance to play

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins general manager Terry Ryan confirmed that first baseman Justin Morneau will have to be medically cleared to return to action because Morneau ended last season on the disabled list with concussion-like symptoms.

It's part of Major League Baseball's new rules regarding concussions set in place last season. Dr. Gary Green, MLB's medical director, must make a formal approval before Morneau is cleared to return to the field, and Morneau also has to sign off that he's healthy.

But Ryan said that Morneau -- who is only one of four players not in camp yet prior to Thursday's official report date -- is feeling fine and the club doesn't expect any problems getting him cleared.

"There's no reason to think this is anything other than just paperwork, but we can't do anything until Justin Morneau signs off," Ryan said.

Morneau, 30, played in just 69 games last year after battling concussion symptoms, while also undergoing surgeries on his neck, left wrist, left knee and right foot.

His season ended on Aug. 28, when his concussion symptoms -- dating back to his initial concussion suffered in July 2010 -- returned after he attempted to make a routine diving play at first.

Morneau said late last month that he hasn't had concussion symptoms since December and is optimistic those issues are behind him.

Guardado in Twins camp as instructor

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins have a familiar face back at the club's Spring Training facility, as former closer Eddie Guardado is serving as a special instructor for the pitchers in big league camp.

Guardado, who pitched with the Twins for 12 seasons from 1993-2003 and '08, has been working with the pitchers on various drills while also giving them advice.

Guardado, 41, is set to help with the pitchers for 10 days and will leave shortly before the Twins begin Grapefruit League play on March 3.

"We're big on tradition," general manager Terry Ryan said. "We like what he can bring to this operation, because there isn't anybody who did more with a career with stuff that really didn't equate to the position he held. I want to put that correctly. For a closer, to have the success he had, with the type of stuff that he presented, was impressive. So we think he's going to be a good influence on our pitchers."

Guardado, who posted a 4.53 ERA and 116 saves while with the Twins, was never known for his stuff, considering his fastball was usually in the mid-80s. But he was a student of the game, and is now passing on his knowledge to Twins pitchers.

"Eddie was a guy who wasn't blessed with the greatest fastball or the greatest stuff, but he had courage," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He had no fear. And he enjoyed being at the ballpark. He enjoyed every minute of it and enjoyed putting the uniform on. And we want him to relay that to these guys out there."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.