Twins Spring Training

The Twins have their bags packed. In fact, they are on the floor in the clubhouse.

Right after wrapping up today's spring finale against the Pirates, the team heads to the airport, where it will take a late-afternoon flight to the Twin Cities.

Everyone seems to be in a pretty good mood. The players I talked to were ready to get the season started, and they feel that the team has gotten accomplished what it needed to.

The Twins set their roster Thursday, with reserve catcher Chris Heintz the last man standing. He seemingly beat out outfielder Josh Rabe, the final position player optioned.

I haven't seen the lineups for today's game, but Joe Mauer, who has been out for a week with a stress reaction in his left fibula, is expected to make his return, as is third baseman Nick Punto, who who has missed significant time this spring with a groin injury.

On another note, the Twins will set a Hammond Stadium spring training attendance record today. Through 16 home games, they are 59 fans shy of last year's 121,574 mark.

This will be the third time those crowds have seen Pittsburgh in Hammond Stadium. The Pirates and Twins are playing for the fifth time this spring, the third time in Fort Myers.

We're about an hour from the first pitch. Sidney Ponson, who will be No. 4 in the rotation, gets the nod for Minnesota, with Johan Santana resting up for Opening Day against Baltimore.

Here is how the roster breaks down:


Starting rotation -- LHP Johan Santana, RHP Boof Bonser, RHP Ramon Ortiz, RHP Sidney Ponson, RHP Carlos Silva.

Buillpen -- RHP Joe Nathan, RHP Juan Rincon, RHP Jesse Crain, LHP DennysReyes, RHP Pat Neshek, RHP Matt Guerrier.

Position Players

Everyday lineup -- 2B Luis Castillo, 3B Nick Punto, C Joe Mauer, RF Michael Cuddyer, 1B Justin Morneau, CF Torii Hunter, LF Rondell White, DH Jason Kubel, SS Jason Bartlett.

Bench -- C Chris Heintz, IF Jeff Cirillo, C Mike Redmond, IF Luis Rodriguez, OF Jason Tyner.

Manager -- Ron Gardenhire (455-354, sixth season)

2006 finish -- 96-66 (1st in AL Central)

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