Updated: February 24th, 2011 3:51pm
Live from Florida, Day 8: Gardenhire says Justin Morneau 'feels great'

Live from Florida, Day 8: Gardenhire says Justin Morneau 'feels great'

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

Catching up with ... Michael Cuddyer

On Wednesday, Minnesota Twins right fielder Michael Cuddyer introduced t-shirts in the clubhouse with the 2011 motto, "Win ... Don't be denied."

Cuddyer brought back the team t-shirts after a one-year hiatus. The motto in 2009 -- "162+" -- didn't exactly turn out how the Twins had hoped.

"The big letters right across the front pretty much explains it all," Cuddyer said. "'Win.' Everybody's only goal is to win. Then on the back, 'Don't be denied,' because if we get that mentality that we're not going to be denied, hopefully if we get to the playoffs we get to the point where we won't be (denied)."

Has that attitude been missing over the past few seasons?

"I don't know if it's been missing," Cuddyer said. "I just don't know if it's been prioritized. We've been good and we've won, and we've done all that, but for whatever reason we've just been denied. Whether we deny ourselves, or whether other teams beat us, whatever the case may be, we've been denied our ultimate goal. We feel like if we just get that mentality, we'll be going the right way."

Cuddyer also finds himself, along with his teammates, in the position of trying to make sure new teammate Tsuyoshi Nishioka feels comfortable in the clubhouse.

"Talk to him, go up to him, have a conversation," Cuddyer said. "Obviously it's got to be through the interpreter ... for now. But that's fine, just talk with him. Don't walk by and kind of look at him and put your head down or whatever. Go up and say, 'Hey, good morning, how's it going?'

Cuddyer also added, during his appearance on 1500 ESPN Wednesday night, "don't treat him like he's an alien."

Numbers game

1.87: Joe Nathan's ERA in 418 2/3 innings with the Twins since 2004. Only two other relievers had ERAs under 2.00 over that stretch -- Jonathan Papelbon (1.82) and Mariano Rivera (1.90).

10: The number of Japanese-born hitters with at least 900 career major-league plate appearances: Ichiro, Hideki Matsui, Dave Roberts, Kazuo Matsui, Tadahito Iguchi, Akinori Iwamura, Kenji Johjima, Kosuke Fukudome, So Taguchi and Tsuyoshi Shinjo.

Health watch

• 1B Justin Morneau (concussion) has worked out three consecutive days since arriving to Fort Myers, and he has faced live pitching two straight days. Morneau will not be discussing his condition on a day-to-day basis, and he will not play in the team's first few spring training games, but it's a good sign that he's been able to go through all workout activities.

"He says he feels good, feels great, says it's nice to be out there," Gardenhire said. "He's feeling really good. His hardest time is not so much at the ballpark. His downtime is when he worries himself to death probably. His downtime is harder on him than his time at the ballpark. When he stays busy, everything's going fine. It's just when he's sitting around, that's when he has to guard. Staying active is not a problem. It's the other part of it. That's the part he's trying to get over the hump, and he says he's feeling a lot better that way too."

• OF Delmon Young is suffering from a case of turf toe, according to manager Ron Gardenhire. "He was working out and it got a little sore," the manager said, "so we'll just back him off. No running right now, doing the machines."

• RHP Nick Blackburn (left ear) is doing fine one day after catcher Rene Rivera accidentally clipped him in the face with a throw back to the mound.

• RHP Scott Baker (elbow) will likely throw live batting practice to hitters on Friday. "We're just being a little guarded with him," Gardenhire said. "We backed off his sessions so that obviously put him back a little bit as far as his start date in the games."

• RHP Joe Nathan (elbow) faced live hitters for his bullpen session Thursday, and he said "everything came out good," and that he was "able to throw all my pitches for strikes, down in the zone for the most part." Nathan also added, "I feel like I could go out and pitch tomorrow if I had to."

Overheard

"You guys had better knock that off or I'll take those trees from Minnesota and put them over on this field."
-- Gardenhire, jokingly jawing at Morneau and catcher Rene Rivera, who were giving the manager grief during a batting practice session.

On deck

The Twins will continue full-squad workouts on Friday and Saturday before hosting the Red Sox at Hammond Stadium on Sunday night for the spring-training opener.

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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