The Twins were breaking out the winter wear in the clubhouse this afternoon, preparing for temperatures to dip into the high 30s by game’s end tonight. Miguel Sano and Max Kepler looked like they were going skiing, with their heads completely covered with masks.
It’s the first night game of the season, and the last for another week — the remaining two games here, and all three next week in Detroit, start at 1:10 p.m.
Tonight marks Phil Hughes’ first regular season game in 10 months, since he walked off the field in Minneapolis on June 9 with a fractured knee. Manager Paul Molitor said he wasn’t certain as training camp opened whether Hughes would bounce back from that injury, and thoracic outlet syndrome surgery.
“We were just going to watch and see how he handled the workload in the spring, and it didn’t seem to be an issue,” Molitor said. “In fact, we were pleased as camp went along [that] you could just tell he was getting more comfortable on the mount, and making pitches and covering bases. It’s the first game, hopefully, of many for him throughout the year. And it’s going to be fun to watch him. I’m sure he’s excited to have a chance to pitch.”
If Hughes is successful, he’ll help make a little Twins history — it’s been 30 years since they opened the season with four straight wins. That 1987 team won its first six games, the franchise record, but only three other times has Minnesota stood 4-0.
Derek Holland will make his White Sox debut tonight; the lefthander signed as a free agent with Chicago last December. Joe Mauer will sit out tonight’s game, creating a few changes in Molitor’s lineup. Miguel Sano replaces Mauer at first base and in the cleanup spot, with Eduardo Escobar taking over at third base. And Chris Gimenez gets his first start of the season behind the plate, despite Jason Castro’s 3-for-6 with six walks start to the season.
Here are the lineups for tonight’s game at Sox Park. New Comiskey Park. The ballpark formerly known as U.S. Cellular Field. (It’s technically “guaranteed Rate Field,” which I’m not sure anyone will ever get used to):
A. Garcia RF
L. Garcia CF