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

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.

Extra work: Twins getting a lot done before practice officially starts

    FORT MYERS, Fla. — Officially, Twins workouts begin at 9 a.m. each morning. But these days, hardly anyone waits until 9 to get started.

    The four indoor batting cages were completely full an hour ahead of time today. Across the way, the faster players on the roster were taking bunting practice with Tony Oliva. There were a handful of infielders taking grounders on Tom Kelly Field, and pitchers with non-throwing workouts were already at work in the bullpen.

    Paul Molitor said he expected more pre-workout workouts this year, and his players have clearly taken his cue.

    “The more hitting, the better,” Kennys Vargas said as he finished the first of three sessions he’ll take in a batting cage today.

    So far, everything is going smoothly for the Twins. No injuries, everyone staying on schedule, and Molitor seems satisfied with what he’s seeing. He called the full team together in the stadium today to work on defensive drills — relays, rundowns, throwing to the correct bases, etc.

    After today’s session, the players will meet with Tony Clark, head of the players association. He’ll go over the new collective bargaining agreement that was negotiated this offseason.

    In today’s paper, I wrote about Kyle Gibson and Ryan O’Rourke’s new, unorthodox training methods, which they hope will keep them healthy this year. La Velle wrote about Molitor’s admission that the Twins mishandled Jorge Polanco last season by not playing him at shortstop while he was in Triple-A.