FORT MYERS, Fla. — Things are quiet in Twins camp, but that will change in a few hours. The first game of the spring, albeit an exhibition game against the University of Minnesota, is tonight, so the players have been given their first morning off. They’ll gather for a team meeting at 2 p.m., and then work out afterward. Then most of the veterans will be excused while the rookies and invitees stay to play the Gophers at 6 p.m. EST.

    The game won’t be played under the new pace-of-play rules, but when the MLB umpires arrive Friday, the Twins will start learning how the game will change. Mound visits, whether by coaches, catchers or infielders, will be limited to just six per game, and umpires will be instructed to more closely adhere to between-innings timing guidelines.

    Those new policies are less stringent than some that commissioner Rob Manfred had proposed, and Brian Dozier believes the players can live with them. Dozier, who represents Twins players in the MLB Players Association and has been staying abreast of negotiations between the union and MLB, said the players voiced strong disapproval of a pitch clock, which Manfred had also proposed, or other rule changes designed to speed up the game.

    “I’m glad. Because we couldn’t come to an agreement this offseason, we were scared that a pitch clock and a lot of other things were going to happen that wouldn’t be good,” Dozier said. “This is fine, I think.”

    Dozier was concerned that penalizing players on the field for slow play, like having umpires declare strikes if batters didn’t stay in the box, or calling balls if the pitchers were taking too long to throw, was too draconian to institute without more study. “It’s all going to be a learning process for everybody,” he said. “We just didn’t want the learning process to involve the integrity of the game, like some of the other stuff they were trying to implement.”

    The solution, Dozier believes, is simply to work with players to develop better habits. “That’s what we told them at the beginning — we said let us do it. If you want to speed up the game in the right way, let us take control of it. And we will,” he said. “You’ve got to let the game of baseball play itself out. It’s up to us to do [it more quickly], to take control of a lot of new things.”


    Here is manager Paul Molitor’s starting lineup for tonight’s game against his alma mater:

Zack Granite  CF

Gregorio Petit  2B

Nick Gordon  SS

Chris Heisey  DH

Brock Stassi  1B

Nick Buss  LF

Ryan LaMarre  RF

Jordan Pacheco  C

Taylor Featherston  3B


Stephen Gonsalves  LHP

followed by:

Zack Littell  RHP

Myles Jaye  RHP

Lewis Thorpe  LHP

Jake Reed  RHP

Michael Kohn  RHP

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