FORT MYERS, Fla. — It’s a day for debuts.
Michael Pineda will pitch in a Twins game for the first time since signing a contract in December 2017. He’s the starting pitcher in this afternoon’s exhibition game with the Red Sox, whose lineup includes only a handful of World Series veterans from last fall — Eduardo Nunez, Rafael Devers and Sandy Leon.
And Marney Gellner, who started broadcasting at Fox Sports North in 2002, will make her baseball play-by-play debut, the first of three games she’ll call in the next four days.
Both starts are intriguing to Twins fans. Pineda has been a mysterious presence in the Twins’ clubhouse for more than a year, a huge righthander with a huge fastball and a track record of success, sidelined by elbow surgery that ended his Yankees career. Along with Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano and Jonathan Schoop, the Twins are banking on a bounceback season from Pineda to shore up a starting rotation that ranked ninth in the AL last season with a 4.54 ERA.
And Gellner is the first woman to call Twins games for the local station, after years as a sideline reporter. Dick Bremer has been the TV play-by-play man for 36 years, so this weekend’s games — Gellner will call Sunday’s game against Philadelphia and Monday’s with Baltimore, too — gives the broadcast a different voice.
Speaking of debuts, Kyle Gibson and Jake Odorizzi are finally ready to make theirs, too. Gibson, slowed this spring by a bout with e.Coli in January, will start against the Orioles, and Odorizzi will pitch against his former team, the Rays, on Tuesday.
Here are the lineups for today’s game at Hammond Stadium: