KANSAS CITY, MO. -- It's Opening Day, take 3, for the Twins, who hope to get it right this time. They opened Target Field with a loss a week ago, and did the same at Camden Yards on Friday. Today is the first game of the season at Kauffman Stadium, a ballpark that turns 40 years old this week. (Can you believe The K is the sixth-oldest park in the majors?)
But despite managing a team that's 4-0 on days other than the openers, Ron Gardenhire said these occasions are actually fun for the team, even when they're not in their own ballpark.
"I always tell my guys, no matter what the circumstances are, take it all in," Gardenhire said. "Any time you're participating in Opening Day in the big leagues, it means you're in the big leagues. So take advantage of it and enjoy it."
That's what the Twins are doing a day after Aaron Hicks broke his 1-for-25 drought, too, though the manager said "We're trying not to play it up too much. I don't want to make too big a deal out of it -- he got a hit."
Still, the pressure was building on the rookie, Gardenhire admitted, though his approach hadn't changed. "As long as he feels he's getting after it and getting some pretty decent swings in there, that's what it's all about," he said. "When he starts feeling the effects of the ball not falling in, then you worry. But I don't think he is."
He's back in the leadoff spot today, though Gardenhire said he plans to start Darin Mastroianni as soon as the reserve outfielder's bruised shin is 100 percent again, something he hopes will be the case during this series. The lineups: