Friday, February 23, 2007

Roll call

FORT TRAFFICJAMBURG, Fla. -- Everyone who matters is in camp now.

Ramon Ortiz arrived here this afternoon. GM Terry Ryan was heading down the stairs mid-afternoon to the clubhouse to welcome the Twins' new pitcher. Luis Castillo reported today, too. First full-squad workout is tomorrow morning. Gardy delivers his annual this-is-what-it-means-to-be-a-Twin speech at around 8:45 a.m. EST, with the workout starting soon thereafter.

Let the grind begin!

Emptying the notepad:

  • Joe Mauer received two CDs in the mail today: Justin Timberlake and Nick Lachey. The former was autographed by I'm Bringing Sexy Back boy himself. Mauer said Timberlake promised he’d send the Twins catcher an autograph when they met at JT’s Xcel Energy Center concert last month. “Joe, you’re better than that,” I joked with him. He replied: “I was skeptical at first, too, but he’s talented.” Sure.

  • Major League Baseball is asking players and base coaches not to toss balls into the stands this year. Instead, MLB is requesting players and coaches hand balls to fans.

  • Gardy and Terry think highly of Rule 5 pick Alejandro Machado. He’s only got 10 big-league games under his belt, all with Boston in ’05. But he’s only 24. If this kid works out, Gardy might not have to pull out what’s left of his hair after being frustrated with his bench limitations last year. Machado can play shortstop, third, second, left and right. Plus, he’s a switch-hitter with speed. The Twins seem bent on adding depth at shortstop. Bartlett started 99 straight games after his mid-June call up, and the Twins want to keep him from wearing down over what they hope will be his first full season in the majors.

  • The Twins’ spring training home, Hammond Stadium, is seemingly an even nicer place after some offseason upgrades. But some of the improvements might actually be hazards. Gone are the tall, chain-link fences down the lines near the bullpens. Now there are padded, waist-high fences, and there could be some legitimate injury concerns when a player pursues a foul ball. “Padded or not padded, I think we’re going to see some guys go over those fences,” Gardy said. “It’s scary.”

  • Backup catcher Mike Redmond said he can tell many of his teammates still are stung by last year’s playoff flop and feel they have unfinished business: “I think that hurt a lot of guys. You can’t take the playoffs for granted, and last year we let it slip away. I think guys will use that as motivation. There are a lot of guys in this room who know now that there’s another level to get to.”

  • Morneau has been wearing a sleeveless, gold Everlast T-shirt underneath his batting-practice uniform this week. An avid weightlifter, MVP said Everlast mailed him some apparel. Morneau said the Bertuzzi T-shirt will return once games start.