DUNEDIN, Fla. — It has evolved into a spring training tradition, especially in Florida where two-hour bus rides are common: Veterans don’t travel.
“You want to respect the guys with the greatest tenure,” manager Paul Molitor said.
That’s why he met with Torii Hunter and Joe Mauer before spring training started and discussed his plans for them, a schedule that essentially includes none of the longest road trips. And that’s why Trevor Plouffe, Brian Dozier, Kurt Suzuki and Oswaldo Arcia rode the bus to Bradenton on Monday — but none of those six players are here in Dunedin for today’s noon (CDT) game with the Blue Jays.
“I don’t think players thought too much about who had to travel back in the day,” Molitor said. “But to be mindful of that, especially early in camp, is a good thing.”
Dunedin, about 120 miles from the Twins’ camp in Fort Myers, is the longest trip north the Twins make. Jupiter, home of the Cardinals and Marlins on the Atlantic side of the state, is only slightly shorter, but since it’s not a freeway trip, the drive can take even longer. The Twins’ lineups in those cities will look a lot like today’s: young guys and players fighting to make the team.
“Guys that are starting to get established, I’ve made it clear I’m going to need them to make some trips. They had no problem with that,” said Molitor, who takes every bus ride. “They had no problem with that. They shouldn’t — you should want to play wherever we ask you to play.”
Those playing today will face former Twin knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Here is the Twins’ lineup: