Ready or not, it's on for Twins

The Twins used a lineup absent four of their most important players to begin Grapefruit League play.

FORT MYERS, FLA. - The Grapefruit League season began Sunday night with Twins director of baseball communications Mike Herman turning his microphone on and announcing, "Hello. Good evening. Welcome to Hammond Stadium."

In Japanese.

The foreign media on hand to cover Tsuyoshi Nishioka's first game with the Twins nodded in approval, and Carl Pavano rocked and fired to Darnell McDonald to start the Twins' exhibition season.

Or has it started?

The lineup manager Ron Gardenhire penned on Sunday missed many of the usual suspects. Joe Mauer is taking lubrication injections in his left knee and is easing into spring training. Justin Morneau, the Twins hope, is in the final stages of his return from a concussion suffered in July. Delmon Young is out because of turf toe, and Michael Cuddyer has a wart on his left foot that, if it has to be removed, could keep him out of action for a couple of weeks.

Until the Twins field a lineup with their key players involved, spring training might not seem like spring training to Twins fans.

Even players are looking ahead to the point of camp when everyone is healthy -- or as healthy as they can be.

"Getting the full squad in uniform and out there together is what everyone is shooting for going into the season," outfielder Denard Span said. "I think it will be fun once we all get out there and feed each other."

When that will happen in anyone's guess. Mauer is teasing everyone by lashing line drive after line drive all over the Lee County Sports Complex during batting practice. Morneau, when he wasn't blasting home runs in batting practice Sunday, stood at first base and tracked balls off the bat. He might not play in a spring game for several more days.

Young should be back in the lineup soon, but the Twins are monitoring Cuddyer's situation carefully.

It's been a while since the fulcrum of the Twins offense (Mauer) and the Canadian clubber (Morneau) have been in the same lineup.

"It was more like the M&D boys last year, Mauer and Delmon," Span said. "Hopefully we can get the other M in there. He looks good. I think he's right on track."

Opening night did allow a sellout crowd of 8,027 to watch Nishioka, who reached on a bloop single in the fifth and was 1-for-3.

Nishioka proved in the second inning that he will be an athletic upgrade in the middle infield. He went to his right to grab Mike Cameron's grounder and flipped while falling to Alexi Casilla for a force play. He then went to his left to make a spinning stop of Jarrod Saltalamacchia's grounder before throwing him out.

It shouldn't be difficult for two infielders to get used to working together. But Nishioka has to learn how to communicate with teammates and adjust to a new league.

"He looks like he's got a lot of instinct to the game," Twins bench coach Scott Ullger said. "And he has an understanding of all the plays we run."

One of the standouts for the Twins on Sunday was Chris Parmelee, who singled, doubled, scored two runs and looked smooth while playing first.

Morneau could be close to returning -- he's going to be examined by a doctor soon. Until he and Mauer and Young and Cuddyer return to make the Twins one of the best lineups in baseball, Gardenhire will watch Parmelee and others fill in.

"I hope people don't get too mad with all of the big names we have down," Gardenhire said. "They are going to see some really interesting lineups with people they don't know very well. I'm excited about it, because I get to see a lot of different guys get in the lineup and get some at-bats."


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Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:M.Gonzalez(7-7) L:T.May(0-4)
HR: MIN- T.Plouffe (11) BAL- D.Young (7), C.Davis (24)


Cincinnati - LP: J. Broxton 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 2
Minnesota - LP: T. May 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 9
NY Yankees - WP: C. Capuano 6 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3
Philadelphia - LP: J. Diekman 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 4
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Archer 4
Miami - LP: C. Hatcher 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: D. Carpenter 5
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 6 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Vargas 1
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 7 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: S. Carroll 1
Texas - WP: S. Baker 13 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: N. Ramirez 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: P. Neshek 2
Colorado - LP: R. Brothers 2 FINAL
Arizona - WP: B. Ziegler 5
Oakland - LP: J. Lester 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 4
Los Angeles - LP: K. Correia 2 FINAL
San Diego - WP: T. Stauffer 3
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 8 FINAL
Seattle - LP: F. Hernandez 3
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 2 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: R. Vogelsong 13
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
Arizona 58
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Houston 3 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 1
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota 71 FINAL
Phoenix 85
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