A local t-shirt company provided the Twins’ clubhouse with “La Tortuga” shirts, and Willians Astudillo showed evident delight this morning in handing them out to his teammates. I remember last year discovering that Astudillo wasn’t a fan of the nickname — he misunderstood a lot of the attention he received upon joining the team as laughing at him and not with him — but he’s clearly embraced his baseball identity now.
Part of the reason is that his teammates enjoy Astudillo as much as the fans, who showered him with cheers during Opening Day ceremonies on Thursday, do too. They gleefully wore the new shirts during batting practice — though come to think of it, Willians was one of the few who wasn’t wearing one.
However popular Astudillo is in the clubhouse, he still has to earn his playing time, and on a team with three catchers, that won’t be easy. The Twins’ lineup today is an exact match for their Opening Day lineup, with the exception of catcher. Mitch Garver will catch Jake Odorizzi today, with Jason Castro on the bench.
Odorizzi came to camp determined to fix the command problems that afflicted him during his first season with the Twins — he averaged 3.8 walks per nine innings, higher than any Twins starter except Lance Lynn — after spending the winter poring over his mechanics. He’s matched up, coincidentally, with Cleveland’s Trevor Bauer, another pitcher who is particularly analytical about his mechanics.
Here are the lineups for today’s game, to be played in 35-degree weather: