FORT MYERS -- The Twins unveiled something very close to their Opening Day lineup today and won their Grapefruit League home opener 5-0 over the Red Sox.
Mike Cameron drew a leadoff walk from Carl Pavano to open the game but tried to steal second and was cut down with a strong throw from Joe Mauer.
The Twins' scored four runs in the first inning against lefty Jon Lester. It started like this: Span 1B, Hudson BB, Mauer BB, Morneau 2-RBI 2B down the first-base line, Cuddyer RBI single up the middle. A sellout crowd of 8,125 at Hammond Stadium, bathing in sunshine on a 56-degree day, was loving it.
La Velle will have more game details for first editions, and yes, we've been keeping our ears to the ground for any big developments on Joe Mauer's contract situation. For now, here's some other quick tidbits:
(*) After the game, Manager Ron Gardenhire said Loek Van Mil, the team's 7-foot-1 relief prospect from the Netherlands, threw one pitch in a bullpen session today and quickly realized he needed another MRI for his right shoulder. Not a good sign. After having a great talk with Van Mil this week about Holland sports, I'm really pulling for him.
(*) Nick Punto, who had minor wrist surgery before camp, is expected to make his spring debut on Sunday, when the Twins have split-squad games against the Yankees and Pirates. Danny Valencia got the start at third base today and went 0-for-2 with two ground outs to third.
(*) Jim Thome went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a fly out in today's debut. The Twins were like, "Oh great" when they went from facing Jon Lester's mid-90s lefthanded fastball to Tim Wakefield's mid-60s knuckleball in the third inning. The Twins miss R.A. Dickey, who could offer a knuckleball counter punch in this Mayor's Cup rivalry.
(*) Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew watched from behind the batting cage earlier Friday as Mauer, Morneau, Michael Cuddyer took turns crushing pitches. Killebrew was clearly impressed. "If we can just keep the other team from scoring [this season], we'll be all right," he said.
(*) Seven performers from the traveling Broadway show “Jersey Boys” visited Twins camp Friday morning. The show, which tells the story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, is in Fort Myers through Sunday, and longtime Twins bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek is apparently a big fan. (Hat tip to talented Star Tribune videographer Jenni Pinkley for grabbing this note for us.)
(*) The Mayor's Cup is now deadlocked at 1-1, with five games remaining. For Game 3 on Saturday, Francisco Liriano starts for the Twins and John Lackey for the Red Sox.
(*) Almost forgot to mention my favorite Twins news blurb of the day. Michelbob's Championship Ribs (one of our favorite restaurants down here in Naples) will be available this season at Target Field. This item makes me hungry just writing about it. This place has won all kinds of awards, and as somewhat of a BBQ connoisseur, I can assure you this is a big addition to the growing lineup of food choices at the new ballpark. (Full disclosure: Michelbob's is catering the official announcement Sunday here at Hammond Stadium, and one of the owners promised us all the ribs we can eat.)