Every year during Spring Training the Twins host a charity golf tournament to benefit the Lee Memorial Regional Cancer Center. This year’s event took place on Thursday at the Fiddlesticks Country Club in Fort Myers.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited to participate in the event in each of the past four years and it’s a chance for me to not only get in a round of golf, but also to have some fun while raising money for a very good cause.
More than 30 Twins players and coaches hit the links on Thursday, including manager Ron Gardenhire, Joe Mauer, Joe Nathan, Michael Cuddyer, Carl Pavano, Nick Punto, and Matt Guerrier.
But the player who drew the most attention on the driving range before the tournament was Twins outfield prospect Aaron Hicks. The California native is a scratch golfer and was blasting drives past the end of the driving range — and mind you, they were straight shots that would land in the middle of the fairway. Other players such as Cuddyer gathered around to watch Hicks hit, and they were clearly impressed.
However it was Mauer’s foursome that took the top spot of the day, as they shot the lowest score of any group — 55.
Due to the golf tournament, Thursday’s workout was quick and the players were off the field a little earlier than usual.
That meant there wasn’t much news from the workout. Alexi Casilla was the one position player who reported to camp, leaving just three players — Justin Morneau, Estarlin De Los Santos and Juan Portes — missing. The buzz in camp is that Morneau is in Florida but just hasn’t attended a workout yet. For manager Ron Gardenhire, that’s actually a positive because it means that Morneau is listening to the advice that he needs to back off his excessive workload at Spring Training. The first baseman has often been one of the first position players to report and is at the complex nearly every morning by 7 a.m. to hit in the cages. Yet the team wants that to change a little this spring following Morneau’s back injury last year.
“He knows he’s got a long spring training and a long
season. It’s good that he’s taking his time,” Gardenhire said. “He’s
not supposed to report until Friday and work out Saturday, and that’s
good. Stay away, it’s less stress on his back.”