Results tagged ‘ Justin Morneau ’

Game 9: Valencia powers Twins to victory

BRADENTON, Fla. — Danny Valencia helped the Twins get out of their offensive slump with a three-run homer to lead the Twins to a 4-2 win over the Pirates on Saturday at McKechnie Field.

The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for the Twins, who improved to 4-5 in Grapefruit League play.

What went right: Valencia looked good at the plate, hitting an opposite-field double in the fifth inning off Jo-Jo Reyes before crushing a three-run shot off Reyes in the sixth.

The homer was set up by a two-out walk from Josh Willingham and a single from Justin Morneau. Morneau, who served as designated hitter, went 1-for-4 at the plate, including a deep fly ball to center field in the first. Willingham went 1-for-2 with a walk.

Right-hander Anthony Swarzak tossed 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of right-hander Terry Doyle, who struggled. Jared Burton, Matt Maloney, Kyle Waldrop, Lester Oliveros and P.J. Walters each tossed a scoreless inning.

“They’re doing fine,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of the relievers in camp. “We’re just looking at different guys. We see some guys we like a little bit. We like their arms. We see the ball coming out, but still, they’ve only been out once or twice. I think, let’s give them a couple more times out and see where we’re at.”

What went wrong: Doyle didn’t have his best stuff, as he allowed two runs on seven hits — including three doubles — and a walk over 2 2/3 innings.

Doyle, a Rule 5 Draft pick who must remain on the active roster all season or be offered back to the White Sox, didn’t exactly help his case to make the club. It was also Twins manager Ron Gardenhire’s first time seeing him pitch.

And while Valencia certainly had a good day offensively, the rest of the Twins combined for just four hits — singles from Willingham, Morneau, Rene Rivera and Alexi Casilla.

Also, despite 14 hits, including a homer from Oswaldo Arcia and two doubles from Chris Parmelee, the Twins also lost 8-2 in a “B” game to the Pirates earlier in the day. Scott Baker pitched in two innings, but recorded just four outs, surrendering six runs (five earned) on six hits, including a two-run homer by Matt Hague.

“Baker was not very good at all,” Gardenhire said. “He got beat around pretty good. He threw the ball. We’ll see how he does from there. Maybe that “B” game format, he might need a little more preparation than that riding the bus and all that trying to pitch. He didn’t react well to that.”

What they said: “We had two good ballgames today,” Gardenhire said. “We had 13 or 14 hits in the first one, then out here today we came up with some big hits too. A better day.”

What’s next: Right-hander Nick Blackburn is set to make his Grapefruit League debut on Sunday against the split-squad Yankees at 12:05 p.m. CT at Hammond Stadium. Blackburn has tossed three scoreless innings in two “B” games against the Red Sox this spring. Brian Duensing, Liam Hendriks, Jeff Manship, Tyler Robertson, Brendan Wise and Deolis Guerra are also scheduled to pitch for the Twins. Right-hander Phil Hughes is slated to start for the Yankees.

Game 5: Twins lineup vs. Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Right-hander Scott Baker makes his first start in Grapefruit League play today against the Rays at Charlotte Sports Park.

Baker tossed one inning in a “B” game against the Red Sox on Thursday, allowing one run on a homer by Ryan Lavarnway. He’s set to go two innings today, and is expected to be followed by left-hander Scott Baker.

Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Denard Span and Josh Willingham didn’t make the trip today, but we’ll get a chance to see how Alexi Casilla and Jamey Carroll work together in the middle infield.

The game will also be televised on Fox Sports North and on MLB.TV at 12:05 p.m. CT. It will also be on radio on the Twins Radio Network and streaming on MLB.com.

Twins lineup:
1. Ben Revere, LF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Ryan Doumit, C
4. Chris Parmelee, 1B
5. Danny Valencia, 3B
6. Brian Dinkelman, RF
7. Steve Pearce, DH
8. Joe Benson, CF
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

RHP Scott Baker

Twins reserves: Chris Hermann, J.R. Towles, Brian Dozier, Pedro Florimon, Michael Hollimon, Oswaldo Arcia, Wilkin Ramirez, Matt Carson, Darin Mastroianni

Twins pitchers: Brian Duensing, Glen Perkins, Matt Capps, Phil Dumatrait, Matt Maloney, Daryl Thompson and Jeff Gray.

Rays lineup:
1. Desmond Jennings, DH
2. Sean Rodriguez, SS
3. Carlos Pena, 1B
4. Brandon Guyer, RF
5. Jeff Salazar, CF
6. Chris Gimenez, C
7. Will Rhymes, 2B
8. Matt Mangini, 3B
9. Jesus Feliciano

RHP Jeff Niemann

Game 4: Twins lineup vs. Red Sox in night game

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins host the Red Sox tonight in the first and only night game at Hammond Stadium this spring.

It’s also the first game televised in the Twin Cities, as it will be broadcast live on Fox Sports North Plus. Here’s the link to where to find that channel. And for those who subscribe to MLB.TV, you can watch the game there as well. It’s also on the radio on the Twins Radio Network and streaming on MLB.com.

It will be worth following, as Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Denard Span, Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit return to the lineup tonight after taking the day off yesterday.

But Doumit is in a unfamiliar place, considering he’s making his first ever start in left field. He’s played 60 games in right field as a Major Leaguer and five games there as a Minor Leaguer, but never in left.

Luke Hughes (strained right shoulder) is also back in the lineup as DH after going 0-for-3 there yesterday with a deep line drive to center against the Red Sox at JetBlue Park. He’s hoping to make his first start in the field later this week.

It’s also a good chance to see Brian Dozier — the club’s Minor League Player of the Year — in action at shortstop. Former Twins Nick Punto and Jason Repko are also in the lineup for the Red Sox.

Other notes:

– Ray Chang was back taking infield after taking a knee to the jaw in yesterday’s game against the Red Sox. He said he dealt with some spasms with his jaw last night but felt OK today.

– First-base coach Jerry White is in the hospital overnight to get checked out for stomach and chest tightness.

– Former Twins first baseman Don Mincher passed away last night.

Twins (2-1)

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Josh Willingham, RF
6. Ryan Doumit, LF
7. Luke Hughes, DH
8. Brian Dozier, SS
9. Michael Hollimon, 3B

Twins reserves: Drew Butera, Rene Rivera, Brian Dinkelman, Trevor Plouffe, Ben Revere, Rene Tosoni and Aaron Bates.

Twins pitchers: Jason Marquis, Jeff Manship, Carlos Gutierrez, Tyler Robertson, Brendan Wise, Deolis Guerra, Liam Hendriks

Red Sox (1-0)

1. Jose Iglesias, SS
2. Ryan Sweeney, RF
3. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
4. David Ortiz, 1B
5. Darnell McDonald, DH
6. Josh Kroeger, LF,
7. Kelly Shoppach, C
8. Nick Punto, 2B
9. Jason Repko, CF

RHP Clay Buchholz

Games 2/3: Split-squad lineups for the Twins

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins have their first split-squad action of Spring Training today with half the club going to Port Charlotte to face the Rays and the other half staying in Fort Myers to play the Red Sox.

Among position players, only Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Denard Span, Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit are staying back today. And the pitchers who threw yesterday — Carl Pavano, Brian Duensing, Matt Capps, Glen Perkins, Alex Burnett, Matt Maloney and Anthony Swarzak — will stay back for light throwing sessions.

I’m at JetBlue Park today to cover the Twins against the Red Sox, as Ron Gardenhire is at the game to watch left-hander Francisco Liriano in his first outing of the spring. Luke Hughes (right shoulder strain) is also set to make his debut as designated hitter after being cleared by team doctors.

And I have to say that JetBlue Park is a pretty amazing place. The playing field is essentially a replica of Fenway Park right down to the dimensions, the Green Monster and Pesky Pole. I’ve been to most of the new Spring Training parks such as Camelback Ranch and Salt River Fields in Arizona, but this one might just be the coolest one I’ve seen yet.

I took a few pictures on the way in, so I’ll post them here. But I’m hoping to get some better shots once the weather gets better. So be on the lookout for more photos on the blog later today.

Twins lineup vs. Red Sox:

1. Ben Revere, LF
2. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS
3. Rene Tosoni, RF
4. Aaron Bates, 1B
5. Luke Hughes, DH
6. Sean Burroughs, 3B
7. Ray Chang, 2B
8. Rene Rivera, C
9. Darin Mastroianni, CF

LHP Francisco Liriano

Twins reserves: Chris Herrmann, Danny Lehmann, Michael Hollimon, Wilkin Ramirez, Danny Rams

Twins pitchers: Jared Burton, Esmerling Vasquez, Phil Dumatrait, Daryl Thompson, Jason Bulger, Kyle Waldrop and Liam Hendriks.

Twins lineup vs. Rays:

1. Alexi Casilla, 2B
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Trevor Plouffe, LF
4. Chris Parmelee, 1B
5. Danny Valencia, 3B
6. Brian Dinkelman, RF
7. Steve Pearce, DH
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Joe Benson, CF

RHP Terry Doyle

Twins reserves: Dan Rohlfing, J.R. Towles, Brian Dozier, Pedro Florimon, Oswaldo Arcia, Matt Carson

Twins pitchers: Scott Diamond, Luis Perdomo, Aaron Thompson, Lester Oliveros, P.J. Walters, Casey Fien.

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:

Day 11: Gearing up for tomorrow’s “B” game

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It was a light day of workouts, as only a few pitchers threw live batting practice today because the club is preparing for tomorrow’s “B” game against the Red Sox.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire announced his starting lineup for the game, which starts at 1 p.m. at Hammond Stadium and is free to public.

The Twins will use nine pitchers in the game, as starting pitchers Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn will be followed by Liam Hendriks, Jeff Manship, Jason Bulger, Carlos Gutierrez, Tyler Robertson, Brendan Wise and Deolis Guerra.

Among position players, the starters are catcher J.R. Towles, first baseman Aaron Bates, second baseman Pedro Florimon, third baseman Ray Chang, shortstop Brian Dozier, left fielder Ben Revere, center fielder Joe Benson, right fielder Rene Tosoni and designated hitter Brian Dinkelman.

The Red Sox plan to use pitchers Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard, Clayton Mortensen, Jesse Carlson, Tony Pena, Alex Wilson, Will Inman and Justin Thomas, according to Red Sox beat reporter Ian Browne.

But the big news today was Justin Morneau clarifying his earlier statements about how if he continues to suffer from concussion-like symptoms, he won’t have a career. Here’s the full story on what he said today.

Joe Mauer also talked with the media and said he’s feeling just fine and can’t wait for Saturday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Rays. Be on the lookout on Twinsbaseball.com for more on Mauer.

Other notes from today:

- Luke Hughes (shoulder) threw for the first time today, and reported no problems. He says he’ll throw up to 90 feet tomorrow and hopes to take batting practice. He could play in his first Spring Training game next week.

- Gardenhire is waiting to announce who will start the club’s Grapefruit League opener on Saturday against the Rays. My guess is that it’s Carl Pavano considering Baker and Blackburn throw tomorrow and Francisco Liriano throws on Sunday. It could be Jason Marquis, but I bet Pavano gets the nod.

- Twins GM Terry Ryan on Morneau and Denard Span: “I don’t worry about Justin any more than I worry about Span; they had the same symptoms, but both of them are doing wonderful.”

Photos from today:

Justin Morneau gives some clarification

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Twins first baseman Justin Morneau made headlines on Friday, when he held his first media session and said that if his concussion-like symptoms continue there “won’t be a career.”

But Morneau clarified those comments this morning, saying that while those symptoms could end his career, he doesn’t expect them to.

At first, he joked when asked if he heard about the frenzy he created on Twitter, asking, “What’s Twitter?” but then got serious about clarifying his original comments.

“Somebody told me,” Morneau said. “I think there was a lot of positive things we walked about. I was asked a question, I gave an honest answer and that was it.You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that if the stuff continues I probably wouldn’t be able to play again. It wasn’t anything other than stating the obvious.

“I also said that I don’t expect that to happen. I don’t anticipate that to happen. That’s something that’s in the back, maybe five percent, of my mind. But you have to, obviously, you have to look at all the options and everything that’s happened. You kind of look to see what you want to be beside a baseball player when you’re done playing. Sometimes you have control when that is and most of the time you don’t. Most of the time guys are still trying to play and either their body doesn’t let them or whatever it is or there’s other guys coming along. One of those things where I was wondering what I would be if I wasn’t a baseball player.”

Morneau has been getting through workouts just fine so far, but said he still hasn’t been told whether he’ll play in the club’s Grapefruit League opener against the Rays on Saturday.

But he had an encouraging sign yesterday, when he hit a homer off left-hander Francisco Liriano during a live batting session.

“I’d never hit a homer in that, especially when they weren’t telling us what was coming,” Morneau said. “I think I’ve done it once when they were still telling us what was coming, but I was more encouraged by the fact that I was able to react when we didn’t know what was coming. That was the positive I’ll take out of that, whether the ball goes over the fence or not. It’s a bonus if it does. But to stand in there and react to a fastball — he was throwing pretty firm — I’ll take the positives out of that, and try to ignore the slider I missed by four feet.”

More to come at Twinsbaseball.com later today.

Day 6: First official day of full workouts

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins held their first official workout with position players today with all but one of the 67 players in camp taking part in the action.

Only infielder Michael Holliman — who was out with flu-like symptoms — missed the initial workout. Even infielder Luke Hughes, who had a cortisone shot injected into his strained right shoulder on Wednesday, caught some throws at first base.

But the big news, of course, was the arrival of Justin Morneau and his first day of working out. Morneau got through the workouts just fine, as he fielded ground balls, threw and took batting practice at Hammond Stadium.

He also talked with the media before the workout, and had some very interesting things to say. Here’s the full story here, and the money quote about how if he continues to suffer from concussion-like symptoms, he could walk away from baseball:

“I don’t think there will be a career if it’s something I’m dealing with,” Morneau said. “That’s the reality of the whole thing. I’m obviously not going to continue to mess around with this if it continues to be a problem. There comes a point where you can only torture yourself for so long. It’s something I love to do but you keep preparing and you keep being left out, that’s something that nobody wants to go through.

“It’s been a tough winter that way. I try not to think about that kind of stuff. Obviously it’s crossed my mind and it’s something I’ve had to think about but when that stuff comes into my mind I continue to look for something positive, and look how far I’ve come in the last week or in the last month and just hope it continues to go well.”

Other notes from today:
– Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said his opening speech this morning went well. He joked that he was like a preacher out there, and never got fired up. The overall message was that the club needs to focus on what it can control and not worry about outside influences and media expectations.

- Reliever Glen Perkins, who is the club’s new union representative this year, said he was troubled by the fact that Ryan Braun’s initial positive test results were made public before he ultimately appealed and saw his 50-game suspension overturned: “He appealed and won, but he still lost. For me, the shame is the worst part, so it stinks that he has to go through everything as if he got busted; he just doesn’t have to serve the 50-game suspension. I guess the flaw is that somehow, some way it got out. I don’t know who leaked it. He got exonerated from the suspension but he didn’t get cleared.”

- Unlike the early workouts only 15 pitchers threw on Friday, including Francisco Liriano. But several pitchers including Aaron Thompson and Phil Dumatrait threw live batting practice sessions. Some hitters such as Danny Valencia and Drew Butera took swings, but others such as Justin Morneau and Josh Willngham just stood at the plate to work on their timing and to track pitches.

Photos from today’s workout:

Morneau optimistic, but concerned about concussion symptoms

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Twins first baseman Justin Morneau talked with reporters this morning, and said that he’s optimistic about staying healthy this year, but also said he’s still concerned about the concussion symptoms that have plagued him for the last two seasons.

Morneau, 30, played in just 69 games last year after battling concussion symptoms and undergoing surgeries on his neck, left wrist, left knee and right foot.

Morneau, who suffered the initial concussion in July 2010, said he hasn’t felt any symptoms since January, and that he hopes to get through the season without any setbacks. But he also was blunt when asked if he’d try to continue playing if the concussion symptoms don’t go away.

“I don’t think there will be a career if it’s something I’m dealing with,” Morneau said. “That’s the reality of the whole thing. I’m obviously not going to continue to mess around with this if it continues to be a problem. There comes a point where you can only torture yourself for so long. It’s something I love to do but you keep preparing and you keep being left out, that’s something that nobody wants to go through.

“It’s been a tough winter that way. I try not to think about that kind of stuff. Obviously it’s crossed my mind and it’s something I’ve had to think about but when that stuff comes into my mind I continue to look for something positive, and look how far I’ve come in the last week or in the last month and just hope it continues to go well.”

But he also expressed optimism for the upcoming season, saying his knee and foot are fully healed and his wrist is at about 100 percent. He still has numbness in his left index finger from the neck surgery, but said it doesn’t affect his swing.

He’s participating in full workouts right from the start but said he’ll take it easy in the early going with the goal of staying healthy entering the season.

“I’m expecting to have a good year,” Morneau said. “I wouldn’t put all the work in. I started the rehab in October and have been going pretty much since then, everything with the goal of having a healthy season and doing what I’m capable of doing. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t believe that was a possibility or the case. I wouldn’t have put all that work in. Obviously I’ve done everything I can, so I’ll see how it goes, but I’m here to help this team win and to drive in runs and hit fourth and do the things I feel like I’m capable of doing.”

Check back at Twinsbaseball.com later today for the full story.

Day 5: Position players report

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Workouts started early and players quickly filed out of the clubhouse before noon, as today was the club’s annual golf tournament.

The big news was the arrival of first baseman Justin Morneau. But Morneau only showed up to drop his stuff off in his locker, and said he plans to meet with the media tomorrow.

With Morneau in camp, only Oswaldo Arcia and Pedro Florimon have yet to show before tomorrow’s first official workout for position players. It was wrongly assumed by reporters that Florimon was already in camp, but general manager Terry Ryan said he expects him to be here in time for tomorrow’s 8:30 a.m. meeting.

In other news, Tsuyoshi Nishioka met with the media and had some interesting things to say about the upcoming season. And Ryan indicated that Nishioka could see some time at third base this spring to prepare for a utility role. For more details on that, check out the notebook that will be officially posted later today.

The Twins also added catching prospect Danny Rams to big league camp, giving them nine catchers on the roster. Ryan said the move was done because there are so many pitchers in camp.

Ryan also said the club scheduled two more “B” games. The Twins, who already scheduled one with the Red Sox for 1 p.m. ET on March 1 at Hammond Stadium, added another against the Red Sox at 10 a.m. on March 7 at Hammond Stadium and one against the Pirates at 10 a.m. on March 10 in Bradenton.

Other notes from today:

- Luke Hughes continues to progress after getting a cortisone shot in his right shoulder. He’ll be out of action for a more days before working out with the team next week.

- Ron Gardenhire worked with Alexi Casilla and Brian Dozier on the practice field today. Says he likes Dozier’s defense but he’s trying to help him slow down a little bit.

- Ryan Doumit is expected to catch fly balls in the outfield and play some first base during drills this spring. Joe Mauer is also scheduled to see some practice time at first.

- Gardenhire had this to say about his former Mets teammate Gary Carter, who passed away last week after a bout with brain cancer: “He played like a little kid. He enjoyed the heck out of it. He was a hustle guy, always hustled. Liked the cameras. He liked the cameras. He was perfect for New York. He had that big smile on his face. We used to tease him all the time. He did the milk commercials. It was perfect for him. He should be doing milk commercials. Dipping an Oreo cookie into it, too. Great guy. Treated everybody like he knew you forever. Treated me like a king. Didn’t matter if you were No. 1 on the team or No. 25 on the team. He treated everybody the same and always had a smile. Very intense when he caught. Wasn’t afraid to mix it up with the other team. Defended his pitchers and defended his team and also was a pretty good player.”

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