One thing Twins manager Baldelli didn’t get much of a chance to work on during spring training was putting together a lineup against lefthanded starters. The Twins just didn’t run into many lefties when it was time to get the regulars on the field.
And indications are that the Twins won’t run into many lefthanded starters during the first month of the regular season, either.
He did, however, get to see his lineup against righthanders in action. And he indicated that the lineup he used in some recent exhibition games will be the one he’ll use on Thursday.
The most noticeable change has Max Kepler, who moved through the middle of the batting order previously in his career, batting leadoff.
Here's the plan: Right fielder Max Kepler, shortstop Jorge Polanco (if healthy), designated hitter Nelson Cruz, left fielder Eddie Rosario, first baseman C.J. Cron, third baseman Marwin Gonzalez, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, catcher Jason Castro and center fielder Byron Buxton.
In addition, the Twins announced that Thursday's game is a box-office sellout, but that some tickets may become available later today or Thursday in the hours before the 3:10 p.m. first pitch.
Also, the St. Paul Saints announced the signing of former Twins minor-league pitcher Todd Van Steensel. The 28-year-old Van Steensel is coming off his third All-Star season in the last four years.
In 2018 he pitched at Double-A Chattanooga in the Twins system, going 5-1 with a 3.07 ERA and four saves in 25 games (two starts). In 44 innings pitched, Van Steensel walked 23 and struck out 49 while opponents hit .169 against him.
The righthander was released by the Twins in August.