FORT MYERS, FLA. – Twins outfielder Darin Mastroianni made the Opening Day roster last season but was limited to 30 games because of left ankle problems that eventually led to surgery. He is in camp this year healthy and eager to move on.
Mastroianni has plenty of speed and is a gifted base stealer. The ankle problems limited his explosiveness, but he feels he has it back now.
“It feels good,” he said. “It’s no different than soreness in the knee, shoulder or elbow [after workouts]. I expect everything to be back to normal for the first time in nearly 12 months.’’
Mastroianni will be battling for playing time in an outfield with several candidates. A lot rides on Aaron Hicks’ ability to make the team. If he does, Mastroianni will fight for a bench spot. If Hicks doesn’t make the big-league club, Mastroianni could battle Alex Presley for starts.
“I’m excited to be healthy again,” Mastroianni said. “It’s been almost a full year since it has felt 100 percent.”
Righthander Matt Guerrier threw off a mound every other day as he prepared for camp, but the Twins have been careful with him since he arrived.
It has been six months since the veteran reliever had surgery to repair a flexor mass in his right arm. Instead of throwing all his pitches, Guerrier has thrown only fastballs from the mound. Instead of throwing in the bullpen every other day, Guerrier threw from a mound on Monday, threw off flat ground on Tuesday and didn’t throw at all on Wednesday.
“This was the plan,” Guerrier said. “I came a week early and wanted to get going on our schedule so we mapped it out … throw the first day, take two days off, then throw.”
Guerrier, who pitched for the Twins in seven of his 10 major league seasons, is expected to be rested during early spring training games. One thing he is encouraged by is that his day-after soreness is similar to what it was before the surgery.
“It goes away fairly quick and doesn’t keep me from doing anything on the field the next day,” he said.
• Outfielders Josh Willingham and Oswaldo Arcia reported to camp. Arcia looks like he has lost a little weight from last season. Jason Kubel, a nonroster invitee to camp, is expected to report to camp on Thursday.
• Righthander Mike Pelfrey had some ear issues checked out but is expected to be fine.
2012 stats: .237 average, nine home runs, 40 RBI in 61 games at Class A Cedar Rapids. Season slowed by elbow injury.
Acquired: Signed as an international free agent in 2009.
Role: Starting outfielder, hopefully at Class A Fort Myers.
Did you know: Born in Germany, Kepler attended South Fort Myers High School his senior year, crossing the street to work out at the Lee County Sports Complex after school.
La VELLE E. NEAL III