2/19/2014 2:15 P.M. ET
Twins handle recovering reliever Guerrier with caution
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Matt Guerrier says his surgically repaired right elbow is feeling good so far in camp, but the Twins are being cautious with him, just in case.
Guerrier, who had surgery in mid-August to repair the flexor mass in his right elbow, threw his first bullpen session Monday, but unlike the other pitchers in camp, he took two days off from throwing. He's also throwing only fastballs, but hopes to mix in breaking balls in his next bullpen session Thursday or possibly Sunday.
"I feel good," Guerrier said. "I have normal soreness. It's kind of one of those things where it's tough to differentiate how I feel now compared to other years. After throwing, it feels typical, like it would throwing a 'pen. Just normal soreness from throwing and it goes away pretty quick."
Guerrier is also expected to be held back from early Grapefruit League action, and he estimated he'll play in his first game on March 9 or 10. Guerrier, who played with the Twins from 2004-10, is a non-roster invitee, but says that keeping his elbow feeling good will be the key to his Spring Training.
"I'm just trying to stay healthy, and that's the biggest thing for me," Guerrier said. "I felt comfortable coming into camp, wherever it may be, that if I were healthy, I'd have a good chance. So the biggest thing was coming in healthy. So hopefully I'll get a couple appearances in games and go from there."
Happy in Minnesota, Willingham open to extension
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Josh Willingham is entering the final season of a three-year contract with the Twins, but if it were up to him, he'd like to stay a bit longer.
Willingham, who arrived at Twins camp Wednesday ahead of Friday's official report date, said he'd like to remain in Minnesota past his current contract.
"I do love playing in Minnesota," Willingham said. "From the organization, to the weather, to my friends and teammates, I think all that stuff is a plus to me. So yeah, I'd love to stay here another year or so."
Willingham, who is making $7 million this year, said he has not reached out to the Twins about a contract extension, but would be receptive if the club approached him.
"If they wanted to come to me, it'd be something I'd obviously be up for," Willingham said. " It's a great organization and I love playing in Minnesota."
But Willingham, who turned 35 on Monday, has to prove he can stay healthy this year, as he dealt with a left knee injury in 2013 and hit just .208/.342/.368 with 14 homers and 48 RBIs in 111 games. He hit .260/.366/.524 with 35 homers and 110 RBIs in '12.
Willingham said he went through his normal offseason routine and hasn't dealt with any knee problems since undergoing arthroscopic surgery in July. He said he also hopes to remain in left field this year, but is fine with serving as designated hitter here and there to get a break from the outfield.
"I like playing left field, because you're more in the flow of the game, while at DH, you have more down time," Willingham said. "So I'd rather be in the game. But DH-ing is great when you're hitting well."
Mastroianni readies for healthy spring after tough 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Darin Mastroianni can only shake his head when he thinks about the fluke injury suffered last Spring Training that essentially derailed his season.
Mastroianni fouled a ball off his left ankle in late March in a Grapefruit League game against the Cardinals, but didn't think it would keep him out of action for long. He ended up making the team out of camp as a fourth outfielder, but aggravated the injury while trying to run early in the season and ultimately landed on the disabled list in mid-April.
Things only got worse from there, as he ended up needing surgery to repair a bone chip in his ankle in May before undergoing a second surgery on Oct. 17 to remove the fixation hardware originally placed in his ankle.
Mastroianni, who played in just 30 games with the Twins last year, spent the entire offseason in Minnesota rehabbing his ankle, and said Wednesday it's almost 100 percent and he doesn't need to wrap or tape it anymore.
"It feels good," Mastroianni said. "It's a little sore, but everything else is sore, too. But everything feels good. I plan to be ready for the first [Grapefruit League] game on [Feb. 28]. I'm not too worried about it. I think we'll get a better feel and see how it reacts when we get to game speed. But we'll get a good feel for that next week once camp really starts."
Mastroianni was taken off the 40-man roster this offseason, but said it doesn't change how he'll approach this spring. He's still competing for a spot as a fourth outfielder and knows the decision will ultimately be out of his control.
"The roster is their call, it's not my call," Mastroianni said. "I hope I'll be there, but I don't have much say other than going out and playing."