A debut and another small step

Friday’s game against the Yankees marked Joe Crede’s debut in a Twins uniform. But while many fans were focused on Crede’s big step, there was another player making strides in his attempt to return to the field — catcher Joe Mauer.

Mauer’s latest acheivement came on Friday when he caught one of Glen Perkins’ bullpen sessions. The catcher then took swings off a tee inside the batting cage. Around 40 people watched Mauer’s session in which he also took soft flips from bullpen catcher Nate Dammann.

There still is no expected timeline for when Mauer will rejoin his teammates on the field, but he’s making progress and that’s definitely positive news for the Twins.

Here are some other news and notes from Friday:

  • Scott Baker’s outing wasn’t pretty in the box score (3 earned runs on six hits over two innings, including a solo home run), but at this point in the spring it wasn’t anything that worried the coaching staff. Pitching coach Rick Anderson said Thursday that he’s asking his pitchers to work on one or two pitches in their early outings. Baker said he threw mostly fastballs, but that his troubles were a result of being a little amped up for his first start. Although he said he still doesn’t like “to get hit around,” Baker said he’s trying to focus on his pitches so that he’ll be ready for his Opening Day start.

  • Twins manager Ron Gardenhire hasn’t given much indication as to what his lineup will look like in 2009, but on Friday he indicated that Justin Morneau will likely be back in the cleanup spot. When asked if he might separate Mauer and Morneau in the order, Gardenhire said, “I have no problem with it but you don’t have to do it because they hit both lefties and righties.”

  • Catching prospect Wilson Ramos, who was ranked the Twins No. 3 prospect by Baseball America, impressed the fans during Friday’s contest with his arm. He threw out two would-be basestealers after taking over for Mike Redmond behind the plate. But Ramos is known more for his offense than his defense. “He’s a pretty good player,” Gardenhire said. “He’s going to be a good one, we think. He’s got things to learn defensively, believe me.”

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