FORT MYERS, FLA. – Intrasquad games, such as the one the Twins will play Thursday, usually consist of a couple veteran starters and whole bunch of young players. But catcher Kurt Suzuki will be right in the middle of it when the game starts at 9 a.m. at Hammond Stadium.
With Kevin Correia and Phil Hughes scheduled to throw, it will be an opportunity for Suzuki to build relationships with starting pitchers he’ll work with during the regular season. He’ll likely catch Hughes on Thursday.
“He’s catching in that just because of that,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “With Hughesy going and Correia, you’d like him to catch both sides and see them both but that’s not going to happen, so he’ll catch one and he’ll get to see them all as we go along. We want him over there with Hughesy right now for sure.”
Vance Worley, Kyle Gibson and Anthony Swarzak also are scheduled to pitch. The group of players will be split up into two teams, Team Steinbach and Team Molitor. Not sure how they came up with those names.
Yes, Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano are scheduled to play in the game.
The Twins had three scouts on hand Tuesday to watch Johan Santana’s throwing session at a Fort Myers high school. Seven teams witnessed the outing, and one report had Santana topping out at 81 miles per hour and throwing several pitches under 80.
That was not enough for the Twins to lose interest, however. Velocity is always down following shoulder surgery and Santana, 34, has thrown only three times since surgery last April 2 — his second surgery on his shoulder capsule. Santana is likely four months away from being able to help a club, but that will depend on how much of his fastball he can regain. The Twins are expected to remain in touch with Santana’s agent, Peter Greenberg.
Other injury updates
Catcher Josmil Pinto (sore back) said he went through all the drills Wednesday and felt good. The next step for him is to see how he feels when he arrives at the park Thursday. Gardenhire indicated he’s just waiting for the training staff to say Pinto is ready before using him in games.
Shortstop Pedro Florimon, out for 10 days following surgery to remove an inflamed appendix, rode a stationary bike in the trainer’s room and was headed for an afternoon doctor’s appointment for a checkup.
2013 stats: .278 average, seven home runs and 40 RBI at Class A Fort Myers
Acquired: 12th-round pick in 2011 out of Loyola Marymount
Role: Possible starter at Class AA New Britain
Did you know: Koch led all Florida State League catchers in batting average and was named to the postseason All-Star team?
La velle E. Neal III