Morneau returns

Justin Morneau returns to the Twins lineup today after missing four games due to stiffness in the middle of his back.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire prepared two lineups this morning — one with Morneau and one without. He was waiting to see how Morneau was feeling after taking some swings in the batting cage, and after the session Morneau declared himself ready to go.

“I’m in there,” Morneau said. “Good to go.”

The Twins will still have to wait and see how Morneau makes it through the game. The starters aren’t expected to play more than five innings so Morneau should get a good test of his back in a few at-bats and some time at first base.

Scott Baker was scheduled to play long toss today. He said that he’ll throw two bullpen this week — one on Monday and one Wednesday — putting him on schedule to pitch a game for Class A Fort Myers on Friday. His shoulder is feeling much better after taking two days off throwing and his expectation is still that he’ll be back with the team when his DL stint is over on April 12.

I talked with Joe Mauer this morning and he said that he caught R.A. Dickey in a bullpen session yesterday. It was a step in the right direction as far as his back is concerned, but Mauer was more excited about finally getting a chance to see the knuckleball since he hopes to see be catching it soon.

Mauer said he’d heard about the amount of movement on Dickey’s knuckleball, but didn’t really get a good feel for just how much until he was catching it.

The clubhouse was full of players packing bags this morning and the team is ready to head to the airport right after the game. So expect this to be a day of players taking a lot of early swings.


Denard Span, CF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Joe Crede, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Carlos Gomez, CF
Jose Morales, C
Nick Punto, SS
Pitching: Glen Perkins, LHP

Nyjer Morgan, LF
Freddy Sanchez, 2B
Nate McLouth, CF
Ryan Doumit, C
Adam LaRoche, 1B
Eric Hinske, DH
Brandon Moss, RF
Andy LaRoche, 3B
Jack Wilson, SS
Pitching: Ross Ohlendorf, RHP

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