The Minnesota Twins have set their roster for the regular season. The most notable feature?
That might be flexibility.
Manager Ron Gardenhire's club has plenty of questions about health, reliability and productivity to answer this spring and summer as the Twins try to rebound from that embarrassing 63-99 record. As Gardenhire begins his 11th year running the team, he has as many options as he's maybe ever had.
The Twins placed right-hander Scott Baker on the 15-day disabled list and optioned right-hander Jason Marquis to Double-A New Britain on Wednesday, with neither starter ready yet for live action after missing time recently. It was the Major League Baseball deadline for setting opening day 25-man rosters.
So as the Twins broke camp in Fort Myers, Fla., and left for Baltimore to face the Orioles on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, they took this group with them: Joe Mauer at catcher, Chris Parmelee at first base, Alexi Casilla at second base, Jamey Carroll at shortstop, Danny Valencia at third base, and Luke Hughes and Sean Burroughs as backup infielders. Trevor Plouffe is in right field, Denard Span is the center fielder and Josh Willingham is in left. Justin Morneau is the designated hitter for now, Ryan Doumit will relieve Mauer behind the plate and Ben Revere will be the fourth outfielder.
"With Valencia and Parmelee hitting at the bottom of your lineup, you've got to feel pretty good," general manager Terry Ryan said. "You look at the guys: Everyone we've got out there is somewhat close to their prime." With Baker and Marquis temporarily unavailable, right-hander Carl Pavano, lefty Francisco Liriano, rookie right-handraft pick, but for now his ability to pinch run and be a defensive replacement and spot starter at all three spots is a plus.
"You can talk about it all you want. We've watched It down here, but quick here the season's going to start and we've got to get it done between the lines," Gardenhire said. "As far as enjoying watching these guys play, I have. These guys are fun to watch."