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Updated: February 25th, 2011 4:54pm
Live from Florida, Day 9: Gibson soaks in first major-league camp

Live from Florida, Day 9: Gibson soaks in first major-league camp

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A rundown of the news, notes and quotes from Friday at Minnesota Twins spring training:

Catching up with ... Kyle Gibson

For Twins right-handed uber-prospect Kyle Gibson, spring training is a chance to show how quickly he deserves to be promoted to the major leagues.

Gibson, 23, skyrocketed through the minor league system in 2010 after being drafted 22nd overall in the 2009 draft. The 6'6" Gibson posted a 2.96 ERA in 26 starts between High-A Fort Myers, Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester. He struck out 126 and walked only 39 in 152 innings.

"It's been pretty exciting," Gibson said about his first major-league spring training experience. "It's always good to get around guys you can learn a lot from. The big thing for me is being able to talk to some of these guys and pick up some information. They help me find out where I need to be when I need to bet here, but mainly just how I should act, how I should carry myself through the drills and what I should be taking care of."

Gibson works out in the same group as Joe Nathan and Brian Duensing -- both of whom have been helpful so far.

On Friday, Gibson had a chance to test himself in a live batting practice session against former league MVPs, Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer.

The live batting practice sessions are fairly casual this early in camp, but Gibson is using them to partially gauge how close he is to being major-league ready.

"I think some of it's just consistency and getting a little bit sharper, better," he said. "That's kind of what I want to find out here in spring training, compare myself to these guys who have been there and done that and find out what I need to work on."

As for a time table for when he might make his major-league debut, Gibson said, "I'd love to be there the first day, but I'm not sure that's a realistic expectation."

"I just want to go out there and play game each chance I get. I may only get a couple chances, but I want to try to make the best of them ... I want to make a good first impression and let these guys know I'm here to work and here to work hard."

Gibson will most likely start the season at Triple-A, but he'll likely finish the year at Target Field.

Numbers game

54%: Francisco Liriano's groundball rate in 2010 -- a huge jump from his 42% and 40% rates in 2008 and 2009. At his best in 2006, Liriano killed worms at a 55% rate. League leaders generally reside in the 55-58% range.

1: The number of dogs former manager Tom Kelly tended to on Friday during batting practice. Kelly noticed a family with a dog standing behind the fence on Field 3, and he asked if the dog needed water on a hot day. Kelly walked around the fence to deliver a small Gatorade cup of water to the dog.

Health watch

• OF Michael Cuddyer sat out Friday with a wart on his foot, and it's possible he may miss a few days. "We kept him off the field and we are going to see how he does (Saturday)," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That growth that he had taken off his foot has really affected him and got really sore so backed off today and we are going to know more tomorrow. If it continues to stay sore we are going to have the whole thing taken out."

• OF Delmon Young (turf toe) will likely try playing in Sunday's spring-training opener, per Gardenhire.

• RHP Joe Nathan (elbow) continues to throw bullpen sessions and remains on schedule. "I didn't hear anything negative," Gardenhire said about Nathan's most recent live batting practice session. "And Nathan feels great. He, obviously, has done fine. I'm trying to stay away from asking him how he's doing every day. He's had enough of that over the last year. So we're letting him pitch and letting him be a part of it. I'm just letting him have a spring training and see what happens. I don't want to get into that. `How'd we do today?'"

Overheard

"You can see why he won the batting title. He's very good with the bat, and he doesn't let balls get away from him. He knows how to put the bat on the bal pretty much all the time."
-- Kevin Slowey after facing Tsuyoshi Nishioka in a live batting practice session.

On deck

The Twins have one more full-squad workout on Saturday before their first spring-training game on Sunday night against the Red Sox.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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