PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Greetings from Charlotte Sports Park, where the Twins are running about a half hour late due to a long traffic backup on Interstate 75, caused by a fender-bender in a construction zone. The Twins (and everybody else traveling from Fort Myers) arrived so late, they cancelled batting practice.
Hey, maybe it'll help. The Twins haven't had much luck with the Rays this spring, losing all three previous games by a combined score of 24-7. They'll face lefthander Cesar Ramos tonight, and will do so with what might be their Opening Day lineup, a rarity for a game that includes a bus ride. Ron Gardenhire's lineup has Kurt Suzuki batting second, something he did regularly with Oakland in 2008 and 2008 (when he had a .336 on-base percentage in the spot) but not since.
I get the feeling that Gardenhire doesn't necessarily want to bat the veteran catcher so high in the batting order, but he remains open to the possibility in case Aaron Hicks doesn't hit this year.
Scott Diamond is on the mound tonight, knowing that Kyle Gibson and Sam Deduno made strong cases for the fifth-starter spot yesterday against the Cardinals. The Canadian lefthander probably needs a good start himself to remain in the running.
Here are the lineups for tonight's game: