Scrimmage sets stage for big boys
Bring on the Red Sox and Yankees.
The Twins defeated Concordia (St. Paul) 7-2 in their annual scrimmage Tuesday, using almost all minor leaguers, while the big boys geared up for their first two Grapefruit League contests -- at the Boston Red Sox and at the New York Yankees.
Garrett Jones and Alexi Casilla had three hits apiece against Concordia, and Matthew LeCroy added a two-run double. But it was merely a tuneup for the -- um, real tuneups -- for the Twins.
Tonight, Matt Garza will oppose Boston's Curt Schilling on the opposite end of Fort Myers.
On Thursday, the Twins bus to Tampa to play the Yankees, and backup catcher Mike Redmond was extremely fired up this week when reigning MVP Justin Morneau agreed to make the long trip.
"To me, that was cool," Redmond said. "... That's why we did what we did last year. The guys -- they're hungry. It doesn't matter where we play, we're ready to go."
The Twins also play the Yankees in Tampa on March 14, so manager Ron Gardenhire planned accordingly with the M&M Boys.
Remember: Morneau edged Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter for the MVP, and Joe Mauer edged Jeter for the batting title.
Knowing the boos those two probably will hear from Yankees fans, Gardenhire decided they should go in shifts.
"Somebody's going to take some heat," Gardenhire said, "so I figured it'd be Morneau this time."
LET'S MEET ...
Mike Venafro, lefthander
Age: 33 Ht: 5-10 Wt: 180
2006: Posted a 2.45 ERA in seven games for the Rockies.