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Twins Insider

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

Dozier (42 home run guy) is in the Twins lineup vs Washington

Yes indeed, Brian Dozier is in the lineup today as the Twins play host to the Nationals on a gorgeous day here in Fort Myers. This will be Dozier's spring training debut, leaving Joe Mauer as the only regular from last year to have not appeared in a game. Mauer is scheduled to play on Wednesday.

Before you start the Mauer bashing, he's not the only one. Camp is a little bit longer because of the World Baseball Classic, and some players are being eased into the schedule. Boston, for instance, is not playing some of its regulars until the middle of next week.

Jorge Polanco is back in the lineup, and it will be interesting to see how he responds after committing an error on Friday in the spring training opener. The Twins need to see Polanco progress as a shortstop, since he's not going to be playing second base anytime soon. There were a few disappointed Twins officials on Friday when Polanco skipped that throw to first base.

Since the Twins didn't add any impact players during the offseason, improvement has to come from within. Especially pitching and defense.

Hope you had a chance to read my story on pitching framing this morning. It's something teams have drilled their catchers on for years, but once pitch framing data became available there has been a greater emphasis on stealing strikes. What can't be measured, however, is human error. What if the umpire is having a bad day and misses five pitches that were obvious strikes? Should the catcher's framing stats be affected by that?

I didn't even get into how positioning by the catcher helps the umpire see the plate better. Umpires like to align themselves over the inside shoulder of the catcher, the area between the catcher and hitter is called the, 'slot'. Consequently, it can be difficult at times for them to see the outisde corner. But a catcher must position himself to help the ump see that part of the plate better. Insteresting stuff.


Michael Taylor, CF
Anthony Rendon, 3B
Chris Heisey, LF
Clint Robinson, 1B
Stephen Drew, SS
Matt Skole, DH
Jose Lobaton, C
Brian Goodwin, RF
Corban Joseph, 2B
A.J. Cole, RHP


Byron Buxton, CF
Jorge Polanaco, SS
Brian Dozier, 2B
Migual Sano, 3B
Max Kepler, RF
Kennys Vargas, 1B
Eddie Rosario, LF
Chris Gimenez, C
Jason Castro, DH

Trevor May, RHP

Twins take on Red Sox as another group of pitchers make spring debut

    FORT MYERS, Fla. — Nick Tepesch took the first step toward what he hopes is a job on the Twins’ pitching staff on Friday, but he knows his one scoreless inning is only a footnote in building his case. Still, pitching well beats the alternative.

    “Every one of them matters. All of them count,” said the 28-year-old righthander, who pitched the eighth inning of a game started by his fellow Missouri Tiger, Kyle Gibson. “I went out there, stayed in the strike zone, attacked the hitters. And now I try to take that into the next one, and the next one. Build on each outing.”

    Tepesch faced four hitters against the Rays, and while he didn’t strike anybody out, he got three ground balls (one of which scooted past rookie shortstop Engelb Vielma for a single) and a harmless fly ball.

    “I felt really good. I’ve thrown a number of bullpens and a couple of live [batting practices], so it was nice to finally pitch in an actual game,” he said. “I felt like I commanded my fastball pretty well. I threw a couple of cutters, only one curveball. But I was commanding the zone.”

    Tepesch knows he’s only one of 31 pitchers vying for roster spots in camp, and one of eight to pitch in the Grapefruit League opener. Now a whole new roster of Twins hopefuls take their turn today, as the Twins meet Boston at JetBlue Park. Ryan Vogelsong will make his Twins debut, while Tyler Duffey, Adalberto Mejia, Ryan Pressly and Ryan O’Rourke also will be on the mound. Phil Hughes, who hasn’t faced a hitter since suffering a broken kneecap last June, will start for the Twins and throw 30 pitches.

    The Twins’ lineup is completely different today, too; most of last night’s starters stayed behind at Twins camp. The Red Sox, as home team, are using many of their star players. One interesting note: catcher Chris Gimenez will play first base once Byung Ho Park is out of the game, as manager Paul Molitor looks for versatility from his bench players.

    Ben Paulsen, 0-for-2 last night as backup first baseman, serves as DH today. I wrote about him and his chances in Saturday’s paper.

    Here are the lineups for today’s noon (CST) game, which will be televised on MLB Network and broadcast on Go96.3.



Stubbs CF

Santana RF

Grossman LF

Park 1B

Paulsen DH

Hague 3B

Escobar SS

Murphy C

Field 2B


Hughes RHP




Pedroia 2B

Bogaerts SS

Betts RF

Ramirez DH

Moreland 1B

Young LF

Sandoval 3B

Selsky CF

Vazquez C


Elias LHP