Game 10: Morneau at first base, batting fifth

NEW YORK — Justin Morneau is making his first start of the season at first base tonight against the Yankees, and is also batting fifth for just the second time since 2007.

Twins manager Ron Garenhire approached Morneau before the game about batting fifth with Josh Willingham batting cleanup, and Morneau told him he was also ready to play first. So Gardenhire decided it was a good time to get Morneau at first, although they haven’t plotted when he’ll play first again.

“We’re just going to go day by day with it,” Gardenhire said. “It’s not going to be starting every day right now, do it and let him go back to DH. What I do like about it it gives me options to give Joe Mauer a day to DH and nothing in the field. Right now, he just goes and plays first base but it is still nine innings on defense the whole package.”

There was also plenty of other news today, including the fact that left-hander Glen Perkins stayed back in Minnesota with what general manager Terry Ryan called inflammation in his left forearm. Perkins is still day to day, and there remains a chance he’ll avoid the disabled list.

Right-hander Nick Blackburn will also miss his next start, as right-hander Anthony Swarzak will pitch in his place Thursday in New York. But Blackburn will throw bullpens on Friday and Sunday with the hope of returning on Tuesday.

Jason Marquis also threw a bullpen and said he’s ready to make his start on Wednesday against the Yankees. It’ll mark the first-ever start at Yankee Stadium for the veteran right-hander.

Twins (2-7)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, C
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Clete Thomas, RF
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

RHP Carl Pavano (1-0, 5.93 ERA, 4.66 FIP, 13 2/3 IP, 4 K, 2 BB)

Yankees (5-4)
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Curtis Granderson, CF
3. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
4. Robinson Cano, 2B
5. Mark Teixeira, 1B
6. Nick Swisher, RF
7. Raul Ibanez, DH
8. Russell Martin, C
9. Brett Gardner, LF

RHP Freddy Garcia (0-0, 5.79 ERA, 6.98 FIP, 4 2/3 IP, 3 K, 3 BB)

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