Day 13: Grapefruit League play starts tomorrow

FORT MYERS, Fla. — After 13 days of workouts, the Twins are scheduled to open Grapefruit League play against the Rays tomorrow at 12:05 p.m. CT at Hammond Stadium.

The big news is that catcher Joe Mauer, first baseman Justin Morneau and center fielder Denard Span will be in the lineup against Tampa Bay’s David Price.

They’ll be batting in their usual spots in the order — first, third and fourth, respectively — and will be joined by by shortstop Jamey Carroll, right fielder Josh Willingham, designated hitter Ryan Doumit, third baseman Danny Valencia, left fielder Trevor Plouffe and second baseman Alexi Casilla in that order.

Ben Revere will start off on the bench with Price, a left-hander, on the mound, but will definitely see some action in the game. Others expected to play include Drew Butera, Rene Rivera, Chris Parmelee, Brian Dinkelman and Rene Tosoni.

Right-hander Carl Pavano will start for the Twins with several other pitchers on the list to throw, such as Brian Duensing, Glen Perkins, Matt Capps, Alex Burnett, Anthony Swarzak, Phil Dumatrait and Matt Maloney.

The Twins are happy with the way camp has gone so far, especially considering Mauer, Morneau and Span have been healthy and have participated in every workout without any issues. The only real setback was right-hander Joel Zumaya tearing his ulnar collateral ligament last weekend.

But for the most part, Twins general manager Terry Ryan and manager Ron Gardenhire are pleased with what they’ve seen so far, and are excited for Grapefruit League play to begin.

“It’s always good to get the games started,” Ryan said. “We’ve been here three extra days this year, so it’s been a little different for us. But now it’s time to get out there and see how we start competing against other clubs.”

Said Gardenhire: “These guys are working their tails off. We’ve got a couple of new people that are pretty fun to watch, so it ought to be interesting. I’m like everybody else, I can’t wait to see what happens.”

Other notes from today:

- Span, who crashed headfirst into the center-field fence yesterday, reported no problems today: “I was curious to see how I’d feel this morning but when I woke up this morning my head and my neck felt fine,” Span said. “Just my back was a little sore. So it was a lot better than I was expecting. It was a big relief. It showed me how far I’ve come this offseason.”

- Infielder Luke Hughes took batting practice and threw from 120 feet for the first time since suffering a sprained right shoulder in his native Australia in early February. He said everything went fine and he’s hoping to DH in a game on Sunday.

- The Twins offered various opinions about Major League Baseball adopting an expanded postseason format with the addition of a second Wild Card with the two Wild Cards playing in a one-game playoff to advance to the Division Series. In short, Ryan and Span were totally in favor of it, while Gardenhire thinks it’s unfair that it’s just a one-game game after a grueling 162-game season. Look for more details in today’s notebook at Twinsbaseball.com, which should also include video of Span giving his opinion on the subject.

Photos from today:

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