FORT MYERS, FLA. – Twins first baseman Justin Morneau was a late scratch from Thursday night’s starting lineup against Boston because of mild lower back stiffness. The injury isn’t considered a threat to force him out of the lineup for Opening Day, but he was removed as a precaution.
“He was swinging [at Hammond Stadium] and said he was fine in the cage, then came out there [across town to Boston’s jetBlue Park] and started feeling stiff,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.
Gardenhire decided not to take any chances. Chris Parmelee moved from right field to first base and batted cleanup in place of Morneau. Wilkin Ramirez was inserted in right field.
“He’s been healthy all spring,” Gardenhire said of Morneau.
The Twins announced their rotation for the opening series against the Tigers at what will be a slightly cool Target Field.
Vance Worley will start Monday opposite Tigers ace Justin Verlander. Kevin Correia will start Wednesday and Mike Pelfrey on Thursday.
Detroit manager Jim Leyland refused to announce the Tigers rotation when asked for it by reporters Thursday.
What about the ’pen?
The Twins have not finalized their bullpen yet. All signs point to Tim Wood going on the disabled list as the final move. “Wood is still on hold,” General Manager Terry Ryan said of the righthander, who reported shoulder soreness earlier in the week.
If Wood is placed on the disabled list, the bullpen will consist of righthanders Jared Burton, Josh Roenicke, Ryan Pressly and Casey Fien and lefthanders Glen Perkins, Brian Duensing and Tyler Robertson.
“We will have a decision in the next day or two,” Ryan said.
Scott Diamond pitched against a Red Sox minor league team Thursday as he continues his buildup following offseason surgery to remove a bone chip from his elbow.
In four innings, the lefthander gave up five hits, including a home run, with no walks and four strikeouts. He threw 65 pitches during an error-filled game.
“I got my work in,” Diamond said with a grin.
Diamond’s next appearance is scheduled for Tuesday in a minor league game. Then he will pitch for Class A Fort Myers on April 7. If all goes well, he will join the Twins on April 12.
• Righthander Liam Hendriks, who was struck in his pitching hand by a line drive Tuesday, threw in the bullpen with no problems Thursday. He will stay in Fort Myers and pitch in a minor league game Sunday. If that goes well, he will rejoin the team in the Twin Cities.
• Outfielder Joe Benson, cut from major league camp earlier in spring training, has been out of action in minor league camp for a few days because of soreness in his surgically repaired left wrist. He took some light swings Thursday and is doing better.
The Twins play their final home game of the spring schedule Friday when the Red Sox visit Hammond Stadium. Righthander Cole De Vries will start for the Twins against Boston’s Ryan Dempster.
La VELLE E. NEAL III