Twins at Rays 3/20

By: Kelly Thesier/

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — The Twins and Rays are meeting up today for the first of two straight contests with each other this weekend.

J.J. Hardy said his irritated left quad is feeling much better. He is scheduled to play four innings and get at-bats in a Twins Minor League contest at the Lee County Sports Complex this afternoon.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters yesterday in Port St. Lucie that he doesn’t expect catcher Jose Morales to be ready for Opening Day, no real surprise considering that’s what Morales thought after having wrist surgery in late January. But now the focus will be on whether Wilson Ramos or Drew Butera gets the nod as the backup catcher to Joe Mauer when the club breaks camp.

Also, in Joe Nathan news it didn’t appear that the closer played catch this morning before the team bus left for Port Charlotte. That’s at least what us reporters gathered since we saw him hanging around the clubhouse and no real sign of activity. But we’ll find out later if that’s the case.

Twins (7-8)

Ben Revere, LF

Orlando Hudson, 2B
Delmon Young, DH
Michael Cuddyer, CF
Jacque Jones, RF
Brendan Harris, 1B
Alexi Casilla, SS
Drew Butera, C
Nick Punto, 3B
Pitching: LHP Francisco Liriano

Others scheduled to pitch: Brian Duensing, Jon Rauch, Jesse Crain, Jeff Manship, Anthony Slama

Rays (12-4)
Sean Rodriguez, CF

Dioneer Navarro, C
Gabe Kapler, CF

Willy Aybar, 1B
Justin Ruggiano, RF

Ryan Shealy, DH
Elliot Johnson, 3B
J.J. Furmaniak, LF
Reid Brignac, 2B

Pitching: LHP David Price

Others scheduled to pitch: Grant Balfour, Lance Cormier, Randy Choate, Rafael Soriano

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

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