ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. – There was an Adalberto Mejia sighting on Friday.
Mejia, who has been recovering from a right calf strain that forced him to the injured list on May 1, has been working out in Fort Myers, Fla., less than a two-hour drive from St. Petersburg. Since Mejia is making progress, the Twins decided to have him throw for pitching coach Wes Johnson and assistant pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and use their input.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for us to be able to do that, being this close to Fort Myers, and getting him here,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “It’s great to see him. I think he looked great physically. He’s taking advantage of this time to build back up and lock in and feel good and hopefully get him on a rehab assignment soon.”
Mejia looked noticeably lighter as he talked about working out and being on a throwing program for the past few weeks.
“I’m working on everything,” Mejia said. “Everything with baseball, my body, everything I can do to get better to get where I was before this happened so I can come back stronger.”
Mejia posted an 8.74 ERA in 11 outings before the injury, so he needs to come back sharper as well as healthy. Being out of options, Mejia would need to clear waivers before being sent to the minors. Pitching better would make things easier, and the Twins could use a steady lefthander alongside the reliable Taylor Rogers.
Mejia played catch and threw lightly off the mound Friday. On Saturday, he will throw a full bullpen session.
Roster decisions near
Zack Littell remains with the Twins despite throwing 77 pitches on Thursday and, consequently, not being available for a few days. The Twins feel they could get through the remainder of the series and into Monday’s off day without needing a fresh arm.
That doesn’t mean the Twins don’t have roster decisions looming.
Catcher Mitch Garver caught a full game for Class AA Pensacola on Friday, and indications are that he has recovered from a mild high left ankle sprain and will be activated.
“I think he’s feeling really good,” Baldelli said of Garver, who has been out since May 14.
Designated hitter Nelson Cruz hit on the field before the game. He is just about recovered from a sprained left wrist. If both are ready, they could be activated as soon as Saturday, but there’s a possibility that the Twins will wait until Tuesday’s series opener in Cleveland to make the moves. Either way, the Twins will have a tricky decision to make. Infielder Luis Arraez is a candidate to be returned to Class AAA Rochester, but he has more than fit in with the offense — batting .375 in 10 games, since being called up May 17 when Cruz was placed on the injured list.
No. 7 celebration
The Twins have set their guest list for Joe Mauer Day on June 15, when his No. 7 will be retired during a pregame ceremony.
More than 30 players will be on hand for the ceremony, including many blasts from the past including Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, J.J. Hardy, Jason Kubel, Trevor Plouffe, Jim Thome, Denard Span, Josh Willingham, Brad Radke, Nick Punto and Johan Santana. That’s in addition to usual suspects like Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau, Glen Perkins and many of the Twins Hall of Famers.
Fans at the game will receive a commemorative No. 7 cap.
Mauer retired after last season, ending a 15-year career during which he won three batting titles and was named American League MVP in 2009.
• In addition to Mejia, the Twins have a few extra coaches on hand during the series. Sam Perlozzo and Bob McClure, both senior advisers to player development, have joined the team for the series before returning to Fort Myers to prepare for the influx of players from the upcoming draft. Roving outfield coordinator Mike Quade, formerly the manager of Class AAA Rochester, will join the team on Saturday.