2/23/2014 2:27 P.M. ET
Spring Training a family affair for Kubel, Tonkin
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It was a family affair when Twins reliever Michael Tonkin toed the rubber against Jason Kubel in live batting practice on Sunday.
Tonkin, 24, is the brother-in-law of Kubel, who is seven years older than him and married to Tonkin's sister. So Tonkin, who is competing to make the club as a reliever, said it was fun facing Kubel for the first time with his full arsenal of pitches.
"It was the first time I've really thrown to him," Tonkin said. "I threw to him live in high school like once. And this offseason I kind of lobbed some balls for him in the cage, but that's it. So this was the first time I've really gone on a mound and I've thrown more than 50-60 percent in a long time."
Tonkin, who is one of the club's most promising relief prospects and posted a 0.79 ERA in 11 1/3 innings with the Twins last year, said that Kubel swung at two of his pitches with mixed results.
"The second pitch to him, he swung through it, and the other one he hit a fly ball to left field pretty deep that was kind of a high fly ball," Tonkin said. "It was pretty close to the warning track."
But Tonkin joked that the deep fly ball would've been an out in a game situation, even though Kubel hit it well.
"I think it would've been caught," Tonkin said with a smile. "That's what I'm saying."
Pinto sits out with sore back for third straight day
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Catcher Josmil Pinto was held out of action for the third day in a row with a stiff back on Sunday, and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Pinto is still day to day.
Pinto started feeling stiffness in his back Friday morning after working on blocking balls in the dirt on Thursday, and hasn't caught since then. Pinto said he hopes to return to action on Monday with some light drills, but hasn't been told when he'll catch again.
"It feels better now," Pinto said. "I don't know if I'm going to hit [Monday], but I think I'm going to go on the field and go throw."
Pinto said he's not worried about the injury, calling it normal soreness after catching bullpens and participating in drills earlier in the week.
Pinto, 24, is competing for a spot on the roster as a backup catcher to Kurt Suzuki after impressing as a September callup last year, hitting .342 with four homers and 12 RBIs in 21 games.
Nolasco, Perkins throw first live BP of spring
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins held their second day of full-squad workouts on Sunday with the remaining healthy pitchers throwing their first live batting practice sessions of the spring.
Every pitcher in camp has now thrown a live bullpen session except for right-hander Matt Guerrier, who is taking it slow in his return from elbow surgery, and left-hander Edgar Ibarra, who threw his first bullpen on Sunday since being diagnosed with Hepatitis B.
Several notable Twins pitchers threw live BP for the first time on Sunday, including Glen Perkins, Ricky Nolasco, Casey Fien, Samuel Deduno, Alex Meyer, Ryan Pressly, Jared Burton, Michael Tonkin and Caleb Thielbar.
"Everybody did fine," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I watched down the left-field line, talked to a few fans, letting them do their thing. They all threw the ball over the plate it looked like -- good movement. And we got through it. No one got hurt."
Gardenhire added that he's working with pitching coach Rick Anderson to add a few 'B' or intrasquad games before their Grapefruit League opener against the Red Sox on Friday. The Twins are only scheduled to host an intrasquad game on Thursday.
"We're working on it," Gardenhire said. "We haven't scheduled anything, but Andy's got some buns in the oven, let's put it that way."