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Updated: March 16th, 2011 5:47pm
Live from Florida, Day 28: Steve Holm has big day, little-known secret

Live from Florida, Day 28: Steve Holm has big day, little-known secret

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

Today's result

Twins 4, Mets 3

• DH Joe Mauer, making his spring debut, laced a single up the middle off right-hander Mike Pelfrey on the second pitch he saw. He finished 1-for-3 with a groundout and a reach-on-error.
• C Danny Lehmann drove home the game-winning run with a double in the bottom of the ninth inning.
• OF Denard Span went 1-for-3 with a monster home run off the right-field foul pole in the third inning.
• 1B Justin Morneau went 0-for-3, but his mere presence on the field is the most important factor.
• LHP Brian Duensing allowed two runs (one earned) off five hits and a walk while striking out three in four innings.
• RHP Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless fifth inning, allowing one hit.

Catching up with ... Steve Holm

Catcher Steve Holm was the only non-regular in the Twins lineup on Wednesday, but he certainly didn't appear too far out of place with his performance against the Mets -- 2-for-2 with two singles, a walk and an RBI.

The Twins have only two catchers on the 40-man roster -- Drew Butera and Joe Mauer -- but if the depth chart showed a third, Holm would likely be the guy.

Holm, 31, played in the San Francisco Giants organization for 10 years until signing with the Twins this offseason. Through the first three weeks of spring training, Holm is 5-for-11 (.455), and the Twins are also impressed with how he handles pitchers.

So it probably comes as no surprise that Holm caught Francisco Liriano in Class-A when Liriano was only 17 years old.

"He was a really sharp kid," Holm said. "Smarter than the others his age."

Prior to that season, Holm was converted from shortstop to catcher. Combine that with Liriano's youth and "neither one of us knew what we were doing," Holm said.

"It was kind of funny."

Holm spent the last three seasons playing for Triple-A Fresno -- with two cups of coffee in the big leagues, compiling a .246/.343/.382 batting line in 273 plate appearances last season. Holm shared time behind the plate with uber-prospect Buster Posey, who was eventually called up to the major leagues to help lead the Giants to a World Series title.

"He's that guy," Holm said, pointing at Joe Mauer when asked about Posey's demeanor. "To a tee."

"One is from the north, another is from the south ... They'll both talk to anybody."

Holm will likely start the season at Class-AAA Rochester, but he may be just one step away from a call-up to Target Field at some point.

Numbers game

1: The number of regular starters yet to appear in a spring-training game -- Michael Cuddyer, who has been sidelined for three weeks after having a wart removed from his foot.

Health watch

• Mauer (knee) is scheduled to catch a couple innings in Thursday's minor-league game. To this point, Mauer has shown very little concern about his status for opening day.

• The next step for Morneau (concussion) is playing back-to-back days, and that could happen sometime soon. "We're getting there," Gardenhire said. "Yeah, we're getting there." He stopped short, however, of slapping a time table on it. "When you read that lineup in there, that's the easiest way to figure out the pattern ... I'm not going to sit here and get into specifics, because it could change daily."

• Nathan (elbow) has shown no signs of a snag in his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and on Wednesday Gardenhire said the right-hander is "just about ready to do just about anything we ask of him." Gardenhire added that Nathan will likely pitch back-to-back days at some point before spring training is over.


"I'll give you some more stuff to tweet too."
-- Gardenhire, when informed about the "Fire It Through The Internet" t-shirts being sold, not surprisingly, on the internet.

On deck

The Twins travel to Lakeland for a game against the Tigers on Thursday. Carlos Gutierrez, Dusty Hughes, Jeff Manship, Pat Neshek and Kyle Waldrop are all expected to throw at least an inning, and likely more.

Back at Hammond Stadium, Carl Pavano will throw five innings in a minor-league game with Drew Butera as his catcher. After Pavano exits, Matt Capps will pitch two innings with Mauer as his backstop.

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