FORT MYERS, FLA. - The Twins have expressed interest in extending closer Joe Nathan's contract, but Nathan said Monday the club has not initiated talks. He is still optimistic that something will be worked out once the club contacts his agent, Dave Pepe.
Nathan is making $5.25 million this season, the final year of a two-year extension he signed in 2005. The Twins hold a $6 million option for 2008.
"We think it's something we'll start pretty soon," Nathan said of negotiations.
The Twins have been busy signing their arbitration-eligible players but now might have time to address Nathan and other players.
Outfielder Michael Cuddyer said he's open to reopening conversations on a multiyear deal after signing a one-year, $3.575 million deal last week to avoid arbitration. There have been no indications that the Twins will do so.
What is known is that the club is interested in extending deals for Nathan and ace Johan Santana and will reopen talks with Justin Morneau on a multiyear deal.
While answering a question about Nathan being under contract, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he's glad everyone is at least signed through this season.
"Everybody's signed, and all this stuff about negotiating new contracts with guys, that's upstairs," he said. "Now I'm just doing the thing right here. This is good stuff, because we've got 'em all signed."
Gardenhire said he hopes righthander Ramon Ortiz, who's hung up in the Dominican Republic because of visa problems, reports to camp by Thursday.
Like General Manager Terry Ryan a day before, Gardenhire isn't worried about Ortiz, who was 11-16 with a 5.57 ERA for Washington last season.
"They tell me he's a really classy kid who handles himself very well," Gardenhire said. "Matt LeCroy [Ortiz's Nationals teammate last year] said he's a really, really good guy. So sounds like our type of player."
Sir Sid on scale
Sidney Ponson will weigh in today. Chances aren't good that his weight will be revealed, but the righthander said Monday that he was 252 pounds the last time he weighed himself during the offseason -- and said he's lost a little more since then.
Even 252 pounds wouldn't make him the heaviest Twins pitcher. That honor goes to Boof Bonser, who's listed at 260.
Rondell White reported to camp Monday, giving the Twins 12 position players who have reported early.
The only injury concern involves outfielder Josh Rabe, who injured his back during winter ball and his being watched very closely.
La Velle E. Neal III firstname.lastname@example.org
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