Today was a day that we call a “shorty” at MLB.com. That means that instead of heading on the roadtrip with the team to Fort Lauderdale, I remained behind to cover the workout at home. It’s one way that the bosses try to help make the long Spring Training schedule a little easier.
It was a pretty quiet day at the Twins complex. For most of the morning it was cloudy and overcast before the skies cleared and the sun appeared by midday, which was perfect for the players who had tee times scheduled for the afternoon since they got the trip off.
Glen Perkins threw a bullpen and said he worked on his slider. It’s a pitch that Perkins said he has to get a feel for early in spring and really the best way to do that is in a game setting. With his roster spot secure, Perkins said it’s a little easier this spring to work on the pitch.
Joe Mauer has also grown accustomed to these workouts, not that he’s taken part in any of them. The catcher has tried not to appear frustrated during his slow recovery from kidney surgery but even as he headed off to do his work on Sunday, it was clear that he’s itching to get back on the field.
Mauer’s slow progress this spring was something that manager Ron Gardenhire addressed with reporters during the roadtrip to Fort Lauderdale.
“It’s just been a slow process, probably slower than anybody expected,” Gardenhire told reporters on Sunday. “We can’t do anything about it because if you can’t run, you can’t run. If you’re not ready, you’re not ready. He comes in and does all his work. No one is probably more frustrated than him.”
When asked whether he has considered scenarios should Mauer not be ready for Opening Day, Gardenhire indicated to reporters that he still is planning on the catcher being available April 6. At least, Gardenhire is for right now.
“I’m still holding my ground here, waiting,” Gardenhire told reporters. “Have I got secondary plans that I’m working on? I’m playing a lot of catchers. If it were to get to a point where he’s not going to be able to start with us, then we’ll start really locking down on things.”