From Fort Myers, FL.
One of the biggest questions facing the Minnesota Twins this offseason was at least partially answered. Four players who missed significant time with injuries last season all played today, and all looked very good in doing so.
Joe Mauer, who played in only 82 games, went 1-for-2 at the plate with an RBI and a strikeout. He looked very comfortable behind the plate and was moving very well. Any questions about the state of his legs certainly seem to be curtailed at this point.
Justin Morneau looked very similar to the player who won the AL MVP, working deep counts and making solid contact with the ball. He struck out looking in the first on a pitch that he clearly thought was outside, but both his other at-bats he hit the ball hard.
In the fifth, he drove in a run on a beautiful piece of hitting. With the shift on and a man at third after he worked a few pitches in the count, he took a low and away pitch and simply slapped it through the gaping hole on the left side of the infield for a single and the RBI.
Denard Span went 2-for-3 with two singles and showed great patience at the plate. In his first at-bat, he worked to a full count before hitting into a 6-1 out in the first, while he singled in both the third and the fifth. His single in the third came on the first pitch of the at-bat, and in the fifth he again worked himself into a full count before reaching base.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka looked very comfortable in the field, playing shortstop after starter Jamey Carroll was removed from the game. In Nishioka's first at-bat, he fell into his old habit of falling away from the plate when batting left-handed.
However, in his second at-bat, he kept himself in the box and made great contact, sending the ball all the way to the wall in right-center and easily making it into third for a triple.
At this point in spring training, it certainly seems the question of whether these four players would be coming back into the lineup healthy has been answered, as all four looked good in their first game of the Grapefruit League.