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.

Nishioka and Casilla flip defensively but not in the lineup

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: March 3, 2011 - 12:21 PM

SARASOTA, FLA. -- I'm at the newly renovated Ed Smith Stadium, trying to get the lay of the land. Will drop back here later with a pregame update.

Update: Gardy said he likes having Nishioka in the No. 2 spot and Casilla in the No. 9 spot, doesn't plan to flip them. But he did flip them defensively. Nishi will play SS and Casilla will play 2B the next two games.

"I feel really comfortable with [Nishioka at No. 2]," Gardenhire said. "I like Lexi at the bottom. My preference is Lexi at the bottom. That turns the lineup over really nice with speed. You go 9-1-2 that can really fly, I like that."

What does Nishioka bring to the No. 2 spot?

"He’s a proven hitter in Japan, and I think he’ll be here," Gardenhire said. "He’s a great contact guy. He can handle the bat. He can flip the ball around. You know, he can bunt, he can do a lot of those things. His speed plays out really good. Hit and run -- all those things. You see the way he handles the bat, you know he can get the bat on the ball."

TWINS (2-2)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS
3. Luke Hughes, 3B
4. Joe Benson, RF
5. Jason Repko, LF
6. Matt Brown, DH
7. Matt Tolbert, 1B
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

Listed pitchers: Carl Pavano, Glen Perkins, Jim Hoey, Chuck James, Anthony Swarzak, Kyle Waldrop, Carlos Gutierrez.

ORIOLES (3-0)

1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Nick Markakis, RF
3. Luke Scott, LF
4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
5. Mark Reynolds, 3B
6. Adam Jones, CF
7. Matt Wieters, C
8. J.J. Hardy, SS
9. Josh Bell, 1B

Listed pitchers: Brian Matusz, Adrian Rosario, Kevin Gregg, Koji Uehara, Jeremy Accardo, Clay Rapada, Josh Rupe and Chorye Spoone.

Ed Smith Stadium. First pitch: 12:05 p.m. (Central). No TV. Twins Radio Network

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