Above average

Twins Spring Training

Here come the Twins. They are now 9-8-1 this spring heading into their off day.

And the crowds keep coming.

There were 8,129 fans here for this one, the second-largest crowd for a spring game. That is three straight home games with more than 8,000 on hand.

Tough day for Kevin Slowey, who has been lights-out most of the spring. He gave up three earned runs in the seventh, and has been optioned to minor-league camp.

There are more and more empty lockers in the clubhouse. Those sent packing today, in addition to Slowey, were Denard Span, Jeremy Cummings, Jason Miller and Carmen Cali.

Cali is a Naples High product.

The Twins have tomorrow for themselves. Then it's across town to play Boston at City of Palms Park.

See ya next time.

MINNESOTA 4, PHILADELPHIA 3

W: Santana (2-1), L: Happ (0-1), S: Choate (2).

HR: Morneau, MIN (2).

***

Another solid outing by Santana. Indeed, he looks good to go.

His line today: five innings pitched, one hit, two walks, two strikeouts. He leaves to start the sixth, as Dennys Reyes comes in with a 3-0 lead at his back.

The offensive highlight, thus far, was thanks to another pretty good player. Justin Morneau roped a homer to right, the second long ball for him in as many games.

***

Nineteen down, 13 to go.

With a victory today over the Philadelphia Phillies, Minnesota can get to a place it hasn't been this spring. Over .500.

If nothing else, you figure the Twins will get off to a fast start against Philly. That's because Johan Santana, the reigning Cy Young winner, will make his third start of the spring.

A strong lineup takes the field today for the Twins. In fact, this is basically what the Twins will look like on Opening Day in the Metrodome. The only exception, perhaps, is designated hitter Jeff Cirillo, who will likely platoon with Jason Kubel, one of the club's hottest hitters.

We are on the cusp of Minnesota's only off day of the spring. The Twins can hit the beach tomorrow, before gearing up for the home stretch of the spring schedule.

PHILADELPHIA: CF Victorino, LF Bourn, 1B Helms, RF Werth, C Wathan, DH Ruiz, 3B Nunez, SS Sandoval, 2B Abernathy, LHP Happ.

MINNESOTA: 2B Castillo, 3B Punto, C Mauer, RF Cuddyer, 1B Morneau, CF Hunter, LF White, DH Cirillo, SS Bartlett, LHP Santana.

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