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

Twins' first full workout gets started before an open-house crowd

    FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins’ first full workout of the spring coincides with an open house at Hammond Stadium, so there’s quite a crowd here to watch Twins players go through fielding drills, batting practice and bullpen sessions this morning.

    It’s also 80 degrees, which doesn’t hurt, either.

    Paul Molitor addressed his team for about 20 minutes this morning, trying to set a positive tone as the Twins attempt to recover from their 59-win crash of 2016.  He’s got 62 players to sort through over the next six weeks — Opening Day is in 37 days, April 3 at Target Field — including a dozen players who are completely new to the organization.

    Lefthander Mason Melotakis will take part in fielding drills and conditioning, but he won’t throw for a few more days. The pitching prospect reported to camp with a right oblique strain, and the pain returned when he tried to throw on flat ground Saturday, so the Twins shut him down to give him more time.

    Meanwhile, Glen Perkins reported no discomfort from his brief but encouraging throwing session.

    Sunday’s workout is the first of five straight before the Grapefruit League season opens Friday night. This one is normally the longest workout — it probably will last until 1 p.m. or so, Eastern Time — because each different drill is preceded by a discussion of what it is and what they’re trying to accomplish.

    There are a few more Twins stories to read this morning, too. I wrote about the unusually large crowd of starting pitchers that Molitor will try to manage this spring (and I really don’t know how he’s going to find innings for them all). Patrick Reusse handicapped the battle to become the backup catcher, and Brian Dozier told La Velle E. Neal III that he hopes the trade rumors are over.

Twins spring training wrapup on Saturday from Fort Myers

Glen Perkins threw 15 pitches with no problems on Saturday and he continues his comeback from shoulder surgery. He still has a long way to go, and there are no plans to ramp up his schedule. He tore the labrum in his left shoulder last season, and those aren't the easiest surgeries to come back from.

The Twins aren't even sure when Perkins will be ready to pitch in games.

"He’s going to have to help steer the ship here," manager Paul Molitor said. ".He’s kind of earned that by what he’s done in the game. You just try to guard him against meeting other people’s expectations and what we hope might happen. It’s a long way back from a fairly major surgery so we’ll kind of just have to see how it goes."

One different thing about this camp is that the catchers are going through daily pitch framing drills. I spoke with prospect Mitch Garver, who really likes working on them, Jason Castro, whose strength is pitch framing, has been helping as well. The catchers will eventually work on their footwork and positioning behind the plate. That's important to make sire the umpire has clear view of the outside corner.

Umpires line up between the shoulder of the catcher and hitter, that opening is referred to as the slot. Consequently, they sometimes struggle with pitches on the outside corner. That's where the catcher can position himself to make sure the umpire has as good of a view as possible.

Interesting stuff. I'm still not sure if the pitch framing metrics are the real deal. And I read a story during the offseason that suggested that catchers with spot-hitting staffs tend to be better pitch framers than catchers with high velocity staffs. But this is what we have to work with.

I watched Craig Breslow throw in the bullpen today while testing the slow-motion option on the smartphone. I mentioned it to Breslow after the workout. He asked to see the video and grimaced while watching it. "That's too high," he said. Breslow has been working on a lower arm angle that gives him a better breaking ball. But his arm was not as low as it needed to be on Saturday.

I also attempted to Facebook live some of the throwing sessions. I didn't realize the reverse angle mode was on, so everything looked backward. Oh well, it's spring training for me, too. I believe we are going to use Facebook live more this year, so make sure you follow the Star Tribune Sports page there for more content. Today's video has been posted on my personal Facebook page, for those I have friended. Breslow's slo-mo work is on there too.