JUPITER, FLA. - For the first time this spring, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire will have all his key players available for an exhibition game.
Outfielder Michael Cuddyer, recovering from surgery to remove a plantar wart from his left foot, played five innings in right field and went 2-for-5 with a double in a minor-league spring training game on Tuesday. All systems are go for him to play in Wednesday's exhibition game against the Orioles. He was the last of the group --including catcher Joe Mauer (left knee), Justin Morneau (concussion) and Delmon Young (left big toe) to miss a chunk of spring training games because of injury.
"I think they are all healthy,'' Gardenhire said. "We'll see what we'll have out there [Wednesday] night.''
Designated hitter Jim Thome has played in three consecutive minor-league spring games, so he will get Wednesday off. He was 1-for-3 Tuesday with a sacrifice fly and 3 RBI. Morneau was 3-for-5.That's bat control
Twins second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka increased his hitting streak to 10 games with a single to left in the first inning. That led to an interesting revelation from Gardenhire.
"He told us he was going to do that,'' Gardenhire said. "He told us where he was going to hit the ball.''
Gardenhire is so impressed with Nishioka's hitting skills that he doesn't want Nishioka to worry about sacrifice bunts during the regular season. "I told him, 'There are not going to be a bunch of bunt situations. You are too good of a hitter,'" Gardenhire said. "A lot of times, when you bunt, they walk [Joe] Mauer anyway.
"So he's going to get a lot of hitting in, because he can hit.''Bullpen fill-in
Indications are that former Twins minor-league manager Phil Roof will fill in as bullpen coach for Rick Stelmaszek, who has been battling problems with his right eye.Etc.
• Outfielder Aaron Hicks, the Twins' first-round pick in 2008, was a late-inning replacement and grounded out to short in his only at-bat.On deck
Lefthander Francisco Liriano will face lefthander Brian Matusz as the Twins and Orioles meet in a night game at Hammond Stadium. The game will be televised on FSN, starting at 6:05 p.m.