02/25/2013 1:01 PM ET
Mauer, Morneau set for rare road trip to Dunedin
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins catcher Joe Mauer and first baseman Justin Morneau are set to make the nearly 150-mile trip to Dunedin, Fla., on Tuesday, when the Twins play the Blue Jays.
It's a rare road trip for both players, but the Twins want them both to get plenty of action in early Grapefruit League play because they both depart Sunday for the World Baseball Classic. Mauer is set to play for Team USA for the first time in his career, while Morneau will suit up for Team Canada for the third time.
Mauer and Morneau both missed the Grapefruit League opener in Sarasota on Saturday, but played at Hammond Stadium on Sunday and Monday. Morneau played first base in both games, while Mauer caught the first game and served as designated hitter on Tuesday.
Mauer said the key for him is to try to see as many of the new Twins pitchers in camp before he leaves for Arizona, where Team USA will train at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale.
"I've caught a different guy in the bullpen every single day," Mauer said. "It's good to get down here with these guys, get to know them. Once you get out in the games, that's when you really get a good idea about guys."
Morneau went 1-for-2 with a three-run double on Monday and played five innings at first base after playing six innings at first on Sunday. He said it's rare for him to play so many games early in spring, but he wants to be ready for the Classic.
"Normally I don't think I'd even be playing back-to-back games this early, but it's important to get ready for playoff-type baseball for your country," Morneau said. "We're trying to get as many at-bats here before I leave, so I'm ready to play nine innings."