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.

Span, Nishioka and Morneau set to face Doc Halladay

Posted by: Phil Miller under Twins game coverage Updated: March 14, 2012 - 11:40 AM

CLEARWATER, FLA. -- Denard Span (stiff neck) and Tsuyoshi Nishioka (strained left pinkie) will return to action today, when the Twins face Roy Halladay and the Phillies at one of my favorite spring training venues, Bright House Field.

The bus ride took about two hours, 15 minutes, and Justin Morneau was aboard, looking for more chances to hone his swing. He’s batting .176 (3-for-17) with a .222 OBP, .176 SLG, three singles, one walk and three strikeouts this spring.

Update: Jim Thome isn't in the lineup for the Phillies today, but he was out there for batting practice. I didn't get to see him practice at first base earlier but have been told he did that, too. Anyway, it was great seeing him. I shot some video of the interview and hope to get that up on the site later.

Utility infield candidate Steve Pearce is expected to miss seven to 10 days with his strained right calf, Manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Josh Willingham is batting ahead of Justin Morneau today. Gardenhire said that's just an attempt to get the righthanded hitting Willingham an extra spring training at-bat. Gardenhire said he prefers to keep Joe Mauer and Morneau lined up in the No. 3-4 spots.

Asked if he sees any scenario where he goes Mauer, Willingham and Morneau (3-4-5), Gardenhire said, "There’s going to be some lefties who eat everybody up, and you may be able to mess around with the lineup a little bit. I don’t mind those guys [Mauer and Morneau] back-to-back. We’ve won a lot of ballgames with them going back-to-back. I’d take my chances with them going back-to-back all year."

TWINS (6-6)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS
3. Josh Willingham, RF
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Chris Parmelee, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, C
7. Sean Burroughs, 3B
8. Ben Revere, LF
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

Pitching: Jason Marquis, Casey Fien, Jeff Manship, Esmerling Vasquez, Luis Perdomo, Jeff Gray, Aaron Thompson, Lester Oliveros, Sam Deduno.

PHILLIES (6-1)
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Shane Victorinio, CF
4. Hunter Pence, RF
5. Ty Wigginton, 1B
6. John Mayberry Jr., LF
7. Domonic Brown, DH
8. Carlos Ruiz, C
9. Freddy Galvis, 2B

Pitching: Roy Halladay, Dontrelle Willis, Jonathan Papelbon, Michael Stutes.

Bright House Field. First pitch: 12:05 p.m. No Twins TV (Comcast SportsNet in Philly). No Radio.

Follow us on Twitter @JoeCStrib and @LaVelleNeal

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