FORT MYERS, FLA. - Twins pitchers and catchers hit the field Wednesday for the first workout of 2013, and no one was more grateful to be part of it than righthander Kyle Gibson.
Gibson missed half of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery in September of 2011. He pitched 512/3 innings between the minors and the Arizona Fall League last year, and is in camp with a shot to make the starting rotation.
A year ago, Gibson could only jog around the Lee County Sports Complex while teammates prepared for the season.
"It was fun today,'' he said. "I definitely feel like I'm a part of the team again and able to be out there with the guys.''
Gibson threw in the bullpen Wednesday and is scheduled for another session on Friday.Mauer and the WBC
Joe Mauer is one of several Twins players who will leave camp during the first week of March to take part in the World Baseball Classic. It sets up a little bit of a challenge for Mauer, who wants to get to know the new pitchers in camp but will be away with Team USA.
"I've got a lot of work to do,'' he said. "I'll try to catch a different guy every day. When I come back, I'll still have some time to get ready for the season and by then we'll probably have an idea of who the guys might be that I need to get to know better.''
For now, Mauer is trying to figure out how to find his midseason form in time for the WBC. "I don't think [I can],'' he said. "I can try to be, try as hard as I can. I think in past WBCs you see five, six [hittable] pitches a game. I'll go out there and try to do the best I can.''Etc.
• Righthander Jose Berrios (Puerto Rico), outfielder Eddie Rosario (Puerto Rico) and lefthander Andrew Albers (Canada) were brought into camp so they can train before the WBC. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he plans to use all of them in games. "That's kind of my job, make sure we have them ready so they can go help someone,'' Gardenhire said.
• The Twins still plan to schedule a B game or two to make sure pitchers get a chance to show what they can do. They have been in contact with the Pirates about adding games, and they could schedule one with the Red Sox, who train a few miles down the road.
• At least 12 position players are in camp, including Trevor Plouffe, Chris Parmelee, Jamey Carroll and Joe Benson.
Acquired: Off waivers from Colorado, Nov. 2
2012 stats: 4-2, 3.25 ERA with the Rockies. Led the majors in relief innings with 882/3.
Role: Would be middle reliever. Fastball tops at 93 miles per hour, has a good slider and solid curve. Walks have been a problem.
Did you know? A converted outfielder, he is the son of former outfielder Gary Roenicke and nephew of Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. He is also married to the sister of Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond.
LA VELLE E. NEAL III