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La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Twins pose for photos, then get to work on eve of spring opener

    FORT MYERS, Fla. — Big day at Twins camp, so the team brought in extra help — a barber, ready to provide a quick shave or last-minute haircut adjustments. Yes, it’s Picture Day, and no, it’s really not much different than what you went through in grade school.

    Each player puts on his full uniform, grabs his bat and glove, and heads to the field, where today there were seven different stations set up. Players wait in line at each station, where TV stations, baseball card companies, MLB and the Star Tribune have photographers set up to capture various posed shots, portraits and video.

    The Twins' Glen Perkins All the media demands can be a bit tedious for the players, which is why teams try to take care of all the requests at once. The photos taken today will appear in a variety of places — Twins telecasts, on 100-foot scoreboards, and inserted into stories in the newspaper. FS1 even erected a large tent to conduct those short interviews that are part of their coverage, with dim lighting and a backdrop where they project the Twins logo.

    The players also fill out a form that reflects the sport’s growing sensitivity to ethnic and language differences among the players. All it asks for is this: Tell us how to spell your name.

    “Major League Baseball wants to ensure that your name is being presented in exactly the manner that you desire. This form will allow you to tell us how you want your name to be presented on your jersey;; scoreboards where possible; graphics in national and local television broadcasts; and other platforms. … Please feel free to include any accent marks and diacritics that you would like to include in the presentation of your name.”

    All the media activity caused a 45-minute delay in today’s workout, but the Twins are on the field now. It’s the last day before the grind of daily ballgames begins; Friday is the spring opener, a night game here at Hammond Stadium against the Rays. There are 35 spring games scheduled before the season begins 39 days from now, on April 3 at Target Field.

    Plenty to read in today’s paper, too, particularly if you like shortstops. I wrote about Ehire Adrianza, whom advanced metrics say would be a major defensive upgrade on the Twins’ roster, while Patrick Reusse made the case for giving Danny Santana another look in the infield. La Velle E. Neal III noted that most pitchers no longer choose to pitch from behind a protective screen while pitching batting practice. And Strib photo journalist Aaron Lavinsky profiles, via video, Twins spring training groundskeeper George Toma, who at 88 years old is regarded as one of the best ever at his craft.

Rain forces Twins to alter workout schedule

With just two days before their spring training lid-lifter, the Twins had to alter their workout schedule on Wednesday.

It's raining in Fort Myers this morning - that steady, depressing kind of rain that has turned the all the infields at the CenturyLink Sports Complex into quicksand. The rain is expected to continue into the late afternoon. I have some friends down from the Twin Cities who are supposed to golf at LaPlaya this afternoon. Sorry boys.

But the Twins are going to make the most of their day. Pitchers MUST stay on their throwing schedules, so they will likely throw in the batting cages and the covered part of the bullpen at Hammond Stadium.

Other areas near the batting cages will be used for drills. Sounds like Torii Hunter and Michael Cuddyer are going to hold baserunning meetings there. The Twins are trying to come up with ways to be productive today without using the mushy fields.

Talked to a few pitchers today about MLB's decision to no longer require four pitches for an intentional walk. The new rule will allow teams to signal that they want to put a hitter on first, and that hitter automatically will head for first. 

I got three different reactions. Some noted that it would be four less pitches charged to their pitch totals - four fewer balls, at that.

Some pointed out that it's a game with human error, and if a pitcher can't execute an intentional walk he should be punished for it.

And others said that the change won't make a difference. There aren't many intentional walks to make a noticeable difference time of games.

That's all for now. Will check back with updates.