Brian Dozier walked into a quiet Twins clubhouse on Thursday and turned up the music. Some guys need walkup music even when they enter a room.
But Dozier was in a good mood. The All-Star second baseman feels healthy and has put his hip problems of a year ago behind him as he looks forward to helping the Twins build upon their 83-79 record last season.
Dozier was hindered for several weeks because of torn right labrum. He never used it as an excuse, but he did have it checked out during the offseason by Vikings specialist Chris Larson. The labrum was torn, and Dozier was faced with a decision.
“I could have elected to have it or not have it,” Dozier said. “Either way, he said a lot of people don’t have it and play for 20 years and people have it and be fine. I took the route not to. And it’s held up.”
Dozier waited longer to begin his offseason conditioning work, and he said he believes it has helped.
“I took off two months instead of one,” he said, “and I felt like I was 16 again.”
Dozier, who batted .236 last season with 28 home runs and 77 RBI, saw his production drop off during the second half, as he hit only .210 after the All-Star break, and the labrum problem might have been a factor. Now he said he feels “110 percent” and wants to be the power-speed threat he knows he can be. While he reached a career high in home runs, he stole only 12 bases after swiping 21 the year before.
The CenturyLink Sports Complex was awash with Kyle Gibson fans Thursday. The University of Missouri’s baseball team, in Fort Myers for back-to-back weekend series at City of Palms Stadium across town, visited the complex to watch the Twins train and visit Gibson, a Mizzou alum.
Gibson saw the Tigers play Seton Hall last weekend and plans to attend their series against Hofstra this weekend.
“It’s fun to see them,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve seen them play since I was [on the team] in 2009.”
• Randy Rosario, the 21-year-old lefthander who was added to the Twins’ 40-man roster in November, “threw the ball well in the bullpen,” manager Paul Molitor said. “He caught some eyes. That was the one name I heard about today.”
• Workouts ended roughly 20 minutes early Thursday to allow players and coaches to take part in the team’s annual golf tournament, a fundraiser for a cancer charity in Fort Myers. Friday’s workout, the final one before position players take part Saturday, will include no bullpen sessions, so Molitor can review defensive fundamentals once more.
2015 stats: Did not pitch while recovering from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery.
Acquired: Drafted in the second round in 2012.
Role: Reliever at Class AA New Britain.
Did you know? Melotakis’ fastball is back up to 97 miles per hour, which is where it was before his surgery. “Right after rehab, I guess I was. I never looked at the radar,” he said. “I just let it be. I was going on feel and it felt good.” He also throws a slider and changeup.
La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller