Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.

If rain stops, Morneau will get his wish, play 1B

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB, Off the field Updated: February 26, 2013 - 10:15 AM

Justin Morneau got his way.

The Twins' slugger sent a text message to Ron Gardenhire on Monday after getting a glimpse of Tuesday's lineup. Morneau was listed as the Twins' designated hitter for today's game, so he texted Gardenhire asking to play first base instead.

Sure enough, Morneau is listed in the official lineup here in Dunedin as the cleanup hitter, and first baseman. Chris Colabello, originally scheduled to play first, is now the DH.

Now, Morneau just needs a game to play in.

The Twins' buses arrived in Dunedin during a pouring rain, and more is in the forecast. The wet weather let up for a moment, and ushers began wiping off the seats and the grounds crew began pulling the tarp off the field in hopes of holding batting practice, and eventually a game. But the rain quickly resumed, and the field is covered once more. It's too early to tell whether the Twins and Blue Jays will play their noon CT exhibition game.

There's plenty of interesting storylines if they do, beginning with the mere presence of Morneau and Joe Mauer. Both made the long bus ride here, a rare occurrence this early in the spring, but an indication of how much importance they place on being ready for the World Baseball Classic, which starts in 10 days.

Meanshile, Trevor Plouffe is in the lineup for the first time this spring, his sore calf apparently healed.

Mike Pelfrey, whose absolute confidence that he'll be ready when the season starts, is scheduled to throw the first couple of innings, another big step on his journey back from Tommy John surgery.

And all three major candidates for the Twins' center field job are in the lineup today. Aaron Hicks is leading off in center, Darin Mastroianni is batting second and playing left, and Joe Benson bats seventh and plays right.

Here's the Twins' lineup: Hicks CF; Mastroianni LF; Mauer C; Morneau 1B; Plouffe 3B; Colabello DH; Benson RF; Dozier 2B; Florimon SS. Pelfrey P, followed by some combination of Pressly, Robertson, Roenicke, Wood, Slama, Perdomo, Tonkin or Thielbar.

Check back here for updates on the game and the weather. You can also follow me on Twitter -- @MillerStrib.
 

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