Mauer throwing better as well

  • Updated: March 9, 2012 - 6:11 AM

The Twins catcher is showing signs of his old strength.

Mauer throwing better as well

Twins catcher Joe Mauer won three consecutive Gold Gloves from 2008 through 2010, but with injuries limiting him to 47 starts behind the plate last year, the American League catching Gold Glove went to Baltimore's Matt Wieters.

Mauer's leg issues messed with his throwing mechanics, even though he threw out 30 percent of base stealers, up from 26 percent the previous two years.

Now, Mauer is back at full strength, and it doesn't just show in his swing. He's throwing better, too.

Rays outfielder Desmond Jennings was 20-for-26 in stolen base attempts last year, but with a quick release and strong throw Mauer caught Jennings trying to nab second base in the first inning Thursday.

"Joe can throw," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "When he's out there on the field and feeling good, he's got a cannon. We all know that. He's feeling good. You can see it. He's moving around good, he's swinging good, he's doing everything. As I said, he didn't have any surgeries this offseason. We're good."

After playing first base in Wednesday's B game and catching five innings Thursday, Mauer will be back in the lineup Friday as the DH, Gardenhire said.

Hughes' costly error

Luke Hughes, who came to camp with a sprained right shoulder, saw his first defensive action Thursday, at second base. In the ninth inning, his throwing error on Tim Beckham's grounder let Tampa Bay's Hak Ju-Lee score the game's only run.

"It feels fine," Hughes said of his shoulder. "I just threw it into the ground."

Good day for relievers

Scott Diamond, Jeff Manship and Brendan Wise each tossed a 1-2-3 inning of relief for the Twins. Carlos Gutierrez recorded the first two outs in the ninth but walked Lee. He scored, but the run was unearned because of Hughes' error.

"We know he has a power arm," said Gardenhire of Gutierrez, whose fastball was clocked at 92-97 mph. "Today, he threw the ball great, but we just missed plays behind him."

Contract details

Glen Perkins already was under contract for $1.55 million this year. The three-year, $10.3 million extension he signed Thursday will guarantee him $2.5 million in 2013, and $3.75 million in both 2014 and 2015. There's a $4.5 million option for 2016, with a $300,000 buyout.

Etc.

• After selling out all 16 spring training home games last year, the Twins have sold out two of three this year. Thursday's announced attendance at Hammond Stadium was 7,803.

• Former Twins closer Rick Aguilera visited the clubhouse before the game.

On deck

Jason Marquis will try to rebound from a rough first spring outing when he pitches against the Cardinals in Fort Myers. Marquis, who went 42-37 for the Cardinals from 2004 to 2006, gave up four runs in 12/3 innings Monday against the Red Sox. St. Louis counters with Adam Wainright, who is coming back from elbow surgery.

JOE CHRISTENSEN

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