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Updated: February 29th, 2012 5:14pm
Notebook: 'B' game players set; Joe Mauer splitting time between C, 1B

Notebook: 'B' game players set; Joe Mauer splitting time between C, 1B

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Wednesday was considered a review day for the Minnesota Twins, as they prepare for a 'B' game against the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, and the first official spring training game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday.

Players and coaches continued working through the extensive fundamental drills that have dominated the practice time pie chart since group workouts began last Friday.

After practice, manager Ron Gardenhire unveiled the list of players who will see action in Thursday's game.

Pitchers: RHP Scott Baker, RHP Nick Blackburn, RHP Liam Hendriks, RHP Jeff Manship, RHP Jasno Bulger, RHP Carlos Gutierrez, LHP Tyler Robertson, RHP Brendan Wise, RHP Deolis Guerra

Position players: C J.R. Towles, 1B Aaron Bates, 2B Pedro Florimon, SS Brian Dozier, 3B Ray Chang, LF Ben Revere, CF Joe Benson, RF Rene Tosoni

Mauer busy

Joe Mauer has spent a large chunk of time playing first base over the past few days, because now is the best time for coaches to work with him closely at the position before games start.

But that doesn't mean he isn't catching too.

"I'm still doing all the catching," Mauer said. "When it's infield (drills), the catchers kind of got to stand around anyway once Good Morning Americas start. You know, I'm doing some groundballs (at first base), and still working there, too. Everyday, I'm just, 'What do you want me to do today?'"

Asked about his physical condition almost two weeks into spring training, Mauer said he's doing fine, aside from the general aches.

"Yeah, I'm feeling like it's what, Day 12 or Day 11? Feeling like it's like that. There's always soreness, trying to get your body back into shape, so that's what I'm dealing with right now."

Health report

• INF Luke Hughes took soft-toss swings on Wednesday and also played catch from 60 feet. Hughes said he no longer has pain in his shoulder, but the team is trying to ramp him up gradually so he doesn't re-injure anything. It's likely Hughes will be back to full-speed by next week. Asked if he feels like he's fallen behind in the battle for a roster spot, Hughes said, "Definitely not. I finished up like four weeks ago in Australia after I got hurt so I got some time there and like 60 or 70 at-bats, which was good. So I don't feel too far behind. So as long as everything continues to go this way, I'll be happy."

• 1B Justin Morneau has now gone through six consecutive full-squad workouts to start spring training with no apparent issues. He also provided some clarity regarding the ominous concussion-related comments he made last week.

Numbers game

3: Pitchers named by Joe Mauer when asked who has stood out so far among the guys he has caught in camp. "Gutierrez, I caught him early. It seemed like he was game-ready. He's got a heavy sink, which is good. Casey (Fien) I caught yesterday. He was really sharp yesterday; I really liked his stuff. I think those were two who really kind of jumped out at me. I was talking with Frankie, and he's been looking pretty good. Trying to get him prepared for the season, too, which is good."

Overheard

"When he does rare back and throw it, I think that's when he gives up on location, so I think Frankie's at his best when he's on top of the ball, nice and easy. That's what we're down here for, we're trying to work on things that right now might not be that effective. But I think Frankie will be fine. He's proven himself, that he can pitch and pitch at this level. I think he'll have a good year."
-- Mauer on Francisco Liriano

On deck

The Twins will workout in the morning before hosting the Red Sox inside Hammond Stadium for a 'B' game at 1 p.m. eastern. On Friday they'll go through another full-squad workout, then the Tampa Bay Rays come down from Port Charlotte for the official spring opener on Saturday.

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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