03/03/2013 2:35 PM ET
With Morneau at Classic, Clement gets reps at first
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- With first basemen Justin Morneau and Chris Colabello in Arizona for the World Baseball Classic, Jeff Clement is expected to get plenty of reps at first base in their absences.
Clement was in the starting lineup on Sunday against the Rays despite the fact that the left-handed hitter is going up against left-hander David Price.
"I don't really have a right-handed first baseman," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I put Clement over there, it's not that fair. But you might as well see if he can hit that guy, too."
Gardenhire said he's been impressed by Clement so far in camp, as he's been working with former manager Tom Kelly almost every day to improve his defense at first base.
"He's doing very well," Gardenhire said. "Since he's been in this camp, the improvement at first base has been unbelievable. He came in a little stiff, but has been working really hard at it. T.K. has spent a lot of time with him over there. And he's put some good swings on the ball, so I think he's comfortable over here."
Clement also could be used as an emergency catcher, as the Marshalltown, Iowa, native was originally drafted as a catcher out of the University of Southern California by the Mariners as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft.
Utility infielder Eduardo Escobar is also expected to catch bullpens this spring and could even be used in a game at catcher late in spring to prepare himself as an emergency catcher this season.
"You're going to probably see Escobar come into a game [at catcher]." Gardenhire said. "He's the third catcher guy, and we'll see how it goes. We're trying to figure out that position. Mr. Clement might do it."
Mastroianni, Arcia making progress after injuries
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Outfielders Darin Mastroianni (sore left hamstring) and Oswaldo Arcia (strained intercostal muscle) are making good progress in their recoveries, according to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire.
Mastroianni, who tweaked his hamstring while checking his swing on Thursday, originally injured his hamstring while playing in the Venezuelan Winter League. But team doctors told Gardenhire the injury isn't serious.
"Mastroianni is coming along just fine," Gardenhire said. "I think it should be [a return] by mid-week for him."
Arcia, meanwhile, pulled his intercostal muscle on Feb. 22 and has yet to appear in a Grapefruit League game. But Arcia, who is ranked as the club's No. 5 prospect and the No. 93 overall prospect according to MLB.com, is expected to get back to baseball activity later this week.
"He's champing at the bit," Gardenhire said. "They're still keeping him slowed down. We know if he goes too early with that thing it could be a long process. So we want it to heal. He's worried about not getting to play over here, but I'm worried about him being healthy."
Twins to remain cautious with Harden, Perez
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Twins are planning to take it slow with pitchers Rich Harden and Rafael Perez this spring, as both are coming off shoulder surgery.
Both pitchers threw off a mound early in camp, but are now back to just playing catch. Harden is currently throwing from 150 feet, while Perez is throwing from 90 feet.
"Perez threw from 90 feet and felt good, so we'll go from there," Gardenhire said.
Harden and Perez are both signed to Minor League contracts with invites to Spring Training. Harden signed with the club in December while Perez signed on Feb. 14.