La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Morneau will open the season as the designated hitter

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: April 2, 2012 - 11:17 AM

Twins first baseman Justin Morneau said this morming that he plans on opening the season as the desginated hitter - but didn't rule out returning there during the season.

``The way it's looking, with (Chris) Parmelee making the team as a first baseman, I think it's looking more toward DH than first base,'' Morneau said. ``It isn't necessarily something that I want to do but it's better in the long run in terms of being healthy and available to play every day. That's the biggest thing right now.

``We'll revisit it later in the season and see how everything has recovered, with all the various things I've been through.''

Morneaui has not played first base since March 13. He revealed around that time that, according to his doctors, being a DH cuts down on his fatigue - which is when the small chance of any concussion symptoms returning could occur.

Morneau is trying to return to being a productive player after being hampered by concussion symptoms and other ailments over the last season-and-a half.

OTHER NOTES

Alexi Casilla received an anti-inflammatory injection in his right knee and is expected to test it out Tuesday. "I will be ready to go by Friday, for sure,'' he said.

Jason Marquis is expected to re-join the team tomorrow. His daughter, Reese, who suffered serious injuries in a bicycle accident a couple weeks ago, is doing better. Marquis has told the Twins that he's been throwing off of a mound, but the Twins will proceed carefully with him.

``We'll see what kind of shape he's in and where he's at physically,'' Twins GM Terry Ryan said.

Joe Mauer and Trevor Plouffe are getting extra at-bats in a minor league game today.

Scott Baker, who is building his arm strength after recovering from a sore elbow, will throw in the bullpen today.

Since Plouffe is playing in a minor league game, minor leaguer Lance Ray will replace him in the lineup.

This is the eighth of nine Knutson Cup meetings between the Twins and Rays. The Twins lead 5-2 and have already clinched the cup.

Twins


Denard Span, CF
Jamey Carroll, SS
Ryan Doumit, C
Justin Morneau, DH
Josh Willingham, Lf
Sean Burroughs, 1B
Danny Valencia, 3B
Luke Hughes, 2B
Lance Ray, RF

Francisco Liriano, LHP

Tampa Bay

Desmond Jennings, CF
Luke Scott, DH
Evan Longoria, 3B
Ben Zobrist, RF
Carlos Pena, 1B
Jeff Keppinger, 2B
Jose Molina, C
Jeff Salazar, LF
Sean Rodriguez, SS

David Price, LHP

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