FORT MYERS, FLA. — Chris Paddack hasn't had a conversation with manager Rocco Baldelli and Twins coaches yet, but he knows it's probably coming at some point this spring.

Paddack threw 18⅓ innings last season, including the postseason and a minor league rehab assignment, after recovering from Tommy John surgery. As much as the Twins are bullish on his impact in the starting rotation, he expects they will find ways to limit his innings.

"They have made it clear: 'We want you pitching in October,' " Paddack said. "There are going to be days where I'm like, 'Rocco, give me that ball back. I want to be out here, and I want to compete and win.' But being able to look him in the eyes and be like, 'You know, I respect it. Five innings is going to be all I've got tonight.' "

When Paddack returned from Tommy John in 2018, as a 22-year-old, he threw 90 minor league innings. He knows how teams can maneuver innings. Maybe the Twins will skip his start at various points in the summer. Maybe they'll be creative around the All-Star break to give him extra rest.

"We'll see what we end up doing," said Baldelli, noting the Twins almost never place a hard innings limit on a pitcher. "I don't know what we're going to end up doing as far as ways to help him to get to a full season. I think he stands a pretty good shot of going out there and pitching regularly in rotation all year long."

Paddack is a believer in writing down goals, and he put 140-160 innings in his journal. Another goal, which he told family members and close friends, is "being present in the moment." Tommy John surgeries have already cost him two years of his career.

"Going from only [18] innings last year to 150, it's going to be a big jump," Paddack said. "I'm going to lean on Pablo [López]. My man stays healthy, and he's a horse. He has a special routine, and he's the same guy every day. I'm going to challenge myself to mirror some of the stuff he does."

Buxton is back (in center)

Byron Buxton stepped into the batter's box Monday for his first live batting practice session since arriving at Twins camp, and his first swing drilled a slider from Bailey Ober to the center field wall.

"I've seen Bailey's slider, and I know what it looks like," Buxton said. "That was one of those where you don't want to go 2-0, so you just kind of flip one over. Not saying he did, but I've seen a real Bailey slider, and it was nothing like that. Just to give him more credit. Because it's better than that."

Hitting a potential double wasn't even Buxton's favorite moment. At the end of the live batting practice sessions, he was roaming center field, and he caught a line drive from Carlos Santana in the right-center gap.

"That's something that last year, I didn't do," Buxton said. "I didn't have a glove on, wasn't in the outfield doing ground balls. For me, I feel like I'm catching up from last year. That's what's fun to me."

Within the first week of spring training games, Buxton is expected to make a start in center, Baldelli said.

"I don't want to put too much pressure on anyone, but he was running past everybody running wind sprints earlier today," Baldelli said. "He walks up to the plate and crushes one, kind of half into the wind, into center field. I think we're seeing a happy and healthy player right now."


• Twins prospect Brooks Lee will spend time at shortstop, third base and second base throughout camp, Baldelli said. Lee has started 134 games at shortstop and seven games at third base in his minor league career. "He's like, 'This isn't new to me. I'll be ready to play wherever you need me to play,' " Baldelli said.