By: Kelly Thesier/MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Day 1 of the Twins’ Spring Training is now officially underway as the pitchers and catchers are getting set for their first official workout.
Everyone always counts reporting day as the kickoff of spring, but not every Twins pitcher and catcher has to show up at the Lee County Sports Complex in Fort Myers on that day. Really the work gets started this morning with manager Ron Gardenhire getting the first meeting underway at 9 a.m. ET and then the groups dispersing to get the first workout underway.
It looked like everyone would be in attendance for the first workout, judging by looking around the clubhouse. Everyone that is except for right-hander Yorman Bazardo, a non-roster invitee, who general manager Bill Smith said would be reporting late due to a travel issue.
A few quick thoughts from yesterday’s report day and this morning before workouts:
— Jose Mijares looks to be in good shape, perhaps even a few pounds lighter than he was at the end of last season. Gardy stopped Mijares in the clubhouse to tell the lefty how good he looked. After many springs where Mijares has shown up out of shape, it’s certainly a positive sign to see him looking like this at the start.
–Joe Nathan, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, Matt Capps, Brian Duensing Francisco Liriano and
Anthony Slama are among pitchers scheduled to throw in the bullpen
— Joe Mauer and Tsuyoshi Nishioka met each other for the first time yesterday in the clubhouse when Nishioka walked over to the catcher and said “Hello, nice to meet you.” And so the Twins star and the star in Japan got their official introductions out of the way.
All right, off to watch the workouts. More from camp later.
The quietest day of Spring Training is always the day that pitchers and catchers report. While players have to technically be in Fort Myers, they aren’t required to be at the ballpark – let alone to work out. Usually the Twins have a few guys who, in addition to unpacking their lockers, head out to the fields to get a little throwing in, but it’s not an organized effort.
However this year was a little different than most. By around 11:00 a.m. there was a large group of pitchers who had gathered inside the clubhouse at Hammond Stadium and most of them proceeded out to the practice fields. It included a range of players from closer Joe Nathan to starter Scott Baker and even newcomers like Jason Jones and Sean Henn.
Of course, Reporting Day is also the day to catch up and chat with some of the guys that you haven’t seen in months. One of the guys that everyone looks forward to sitting down and talking to is Mike Redmond as he can always be counted on for an interesting conversation.
A funny exchange occurred on Sunday when Redmond walked back into the clubhouse following his workout. Joe Mauer was sitting at his locker, which is next to Redmond’s, and had a glove waiting to hand to him. It was bigger than most catcher’s gloves and without having to see the name “Dickey” inscribed on the glove, Redmond knew exactly what it meant — time to start catching the knuckleball.
“We almost put a Mirabelli tag above your locker,” Mauer joked.
Redmond isn’t a stranger to knuckleballers like R.A. Dickey, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee. When he was with the Marlins, he caught Dennis Springer who was the club’s No. 5 starter in 1999. I chatted with Redmond a little bit about catching a knuckleball and he said that it takes some time to get adjusted to seeing that movement again. Mauer was a little disappointed that he won’t get to spend as much time catching Dickey this spring since he’ll be limited in his workload.
The glove was given to Mauer by R.A. Dickey, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee. Normally, Redmond said, knuckleballers don’t give catchers gloves. But it happened to be a good thing that Dickey had an extra one, since the ones that Mauer and Redmond ordered had not yet arrived.
In terms of news on Sunday, it was a pretty quiet day. Mauer was waiting to find out what he would be able to do during Monday’s first workout for pitchers and catchers. Right-hander Luis Ayala arrived at camp and is waiting for his contract to be finalized. He’s scheduled to take his physical on Monday and then the Twins will have to make a corresponding move to make room for him on the 40-man roster.