Thoughts on WBC plus lineups for Twins/Orioles

FORT MYERS, Fla. — With the Twins having a rare off-day on Tuesday, I decided to head over to Marlins Ballpark in Miami to catch the USA-Puerto Rico game.

I wanted to check out the new stadium and the atmosphere, as I went to the semifinals and finals of the World Baseball Classic in both 2006 and ’09 and had a great time.

The decision to drive two hours across the state didn’t disappoint, as I found myself liking the ballpark much more than I thought I would and the atmosphere was incredible. It definitely didn’t feel like a Spring Training game, as it was incredibly loud with noisemakers going off all over the stadium and lots of passionate Puerto Rico fans.

It was also fun to watch a few of the Twins’ prospects, as both Eddie Rosario and Jose Berrios played for Puerto Rico. I was impressed by Rosario’s double on an 0-2 pitch from David Hernandez and Berrios was throwing 95 mph and wasn’t afraid out there despite the fact he’s only 18.

So when we talked to Justin Morneau today about his time in the World Baseball Classic, it was no surprise that he loved the intense environment the games bring in mid-March.

Morneau was impressive in the Classic, hitting .636 (7-for-11) with three doubles, three RBIs and a walk. But Canada was eliminated with a 9-4 loss to Team USA on Sunday at Chase Field in Phoenix, which caused Morneau to head back to Fort Myers earlier than he had hoped.

“The intensity was good and the adrenaline level was high but there’s still a long time until the regular season starts,” Morneau said. “But it was still a good foundation to build off of to have a few good days of the success at the plate and know my swing is pretty close to where I want it to be. So it’s a good confidence builder and hopefully I can continue it.”

Morneau is back in the lineup batting cleanup and at first base for the Twins tonight against the Orioles. Here are the rest of the lineups with plenty of familiar faces playing for Baltimore:

Orioles (10-4)
1. Alexi Casilla, 2B
2. Ryan Flaherty, SS
3. Manny Machado, 3B
4. Jason Pridie, LF
5. Taylor Teagarden, C
6. Travis Ishikawa, 1B
7. Danny Valencia, DH
8. Chris Dickerson, RF
9. Trayvon Robinson, CF

LHP Brian Matusz

Twins (10-7)
1. Aaron Hicks, CF
2. Brian Dozier, 2B
3. Josh Willingham, LF
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Ryan Doumit, C
6. Chris Parmelee, RF
7. Oswaldo Arcia, DH
8. Eduardo Escobar, 3B
9. Pedro Florimon SS

RHP Kevin Correia

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