Nolasco’s first up, Gardenhire says
FORT MYERS, FLA. – As expected, Ricky Nolasco will be the Twins’ Opening Day starter.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire let that foregone conclusion be known Friday, spilling the beans when a New York writer asked him where Phil Hughes was going to land in the rotation.
Gardenhire wouldn’t divulge that information but did say, “Nolasco is going to start on Opening Day, and we’re just going to work it in from there.’’
It will be Nolasco’s third Opening Day assignment, the other two coming with the Marlins in 2009 and last year, both against Washington. In 2009, he gave up five earned runs over six innings but got the win over John Lannan in a 12-6 Marlins victory. Last year, he lost 2-0 to Stephen Strasburg, giving up two runs over six innings. He’s 1-1, 5.25 in those starts.
This will be the third straight year a different pitcher has taken the ball for the Twins on Opening Day. Vance Worley was tabbed last season, Carl Pavano in 2012.
Based on how they are scheduled now, the Twins rotation is Nolasco, Kevin Correia, Hughes, Mike Pelfrey and TBA. Other teams will set their rotations for the first week of the season over the next few days.
• Shortstop Pedro Florimon threw away the first ground ball hit at him during a Class A game on Friday, his first action since undergoing an appendectomy on Feb. 17, but made another play routinely and went 0-for-2 at the plate. Florimon is scheduled to play five innings of an intrasquad game on Sunday in hopes of being ready for Opening Day.
• Chris Colabello expressed remorse when he inadvertently kicked Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez in the left quad while being forced out at second base to end the fifth. Nunez hobbled off the field and was taken out of the game but will be fine. “I’m not the best feet-first slider of all time,’’ Colabello said. Colabello and Nunez were teammates at Toros in the Dominican winter league last offseason.
• Minor league outfielder Mike Kvasnicka, a Lakeville native and former Minnesota Gopher who was acquired in a trade with Houston last March, played for his hometown team for the first time Friday. Kvasnicka, a 2009 first-round draft pick who likely is headed to Class AA New Britain this year, played left field for the final three innings against Baltimore, and grounded into a double play in the ninth inning.
• Star Tribune columnist Sid Hartman, who turns 94 on Saturday, will be honored at a pregame ceremony at Target Field before the Twins’ game against Seattle on May 18, the team announced. Hartman will broadcast his WCCO radio show from the park that morning, and the first 10,000 adult fans will receive a commemorative coffee mug with quotes from Hartman’s career.
Scott Diamond will try to stay in the race for a roster spot when he faces the Mets in Port St. Lucie. Righthander Dillon Gee will start for the Mets. First pitch is scheduled for 12:10 p.m.
Phill Miller and La Velle E. Neal III