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Updated: February 23rd, 2012 3:57pm
Notebook: Justin Morneau arrives; Gardenhire, Ryan to address team

Notebook: Justin Morneau arrives; Gardenhire, Ryan to address team

by Phil Mackey
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau arrived to the Hammond Stadium clubhouse on Thursday -- the official reporting day for position players.

Morneau was the only 25-man roster hopeful who didn't report to camp early, but all indications are he has been working hard on his own program all offseason in an attempt to get back from four surgeries and concussion symptoms.

Morneau still needs to be cleared through MLB's concussion policy, but that "formality," as general manager Terry Ryan puts it, only applies to the first baseman's participation in games, not practices.

"As soon as the trainer gives me the paperwork. It should be soon," Ryan said. "We're not going to just jump out and give everything 100 percent and say, 'Here we go.' We're obviously going to watch things here. But he obviously has no restrictions from what I've been told about. We anticipate him being a full go but we'll just ease into it a little bit."

Morneau will talk to reporters on Friday, either before or after the first full-squad workout.

Gardenhire, Ryan to address team

Early on Friday morning, manager Ron Gardenhire and GM Ryan both plan to address the 67-man roster, as is accustomed for the manager and GM prior to the start of full-squad workouts every year.

But this is the first time since 2000 the Twins are coming off a 90+ loss season.

"I've thought about it, and I want to make sure it comes across right," Ryan said. "There's no secret to an opening day message: There are team rules and policies and how we expect things to happen, and making sure people are aware and accountable for their actions. ...

"I guess my biggest theme or message would be the importance of health. You can talk all you want down here about going through fundamentals and games and trying to make the club, but the one thing you want to make sure is that you have a chance -- stay on the diamond so we can evaluate you."

Gardenhire's message has potential to be more aggressive.

"It all depends on how I get going," Gardenhire said. "You never know how you're going to react when you start speaking. I've got some things I'm going to touch on. ... If I piss myself off when I'm talking thinking about things, it'll probably be pretty rough. Might hurt a few feelings. But if I can remain calm myself, it'll be nice. I've got some points that I want to make and some things that I want to say."

Starting with making sure everyone understands the magnitude of how awful the team was in 2012.

"Some of them (do), but they're always changing," Gardenhire said. "That's our biggest problem is we change so much. Some of them have been through (losing) from other ball clubs. But some of them have been on teams and that's been the norm. And that's not good. That's not the norm. Last year, we have been there. I've been there when it was the norm here in the 90s, when we came in here every year trying to figure out a way not to get our asses kicked. And that's no fun. So once we started winning in the 2000s, that became the norm. ...

"We've got good players. We just have to play the game the right way. Not only the starters, but all the guys have to be in it together."

Good Morning America

The Twins start every full-squad workout with a 20-minute drill called Good Morning America -- a rapid-fire round of infield, with baseballs flying in every direction.

Tom Kelly ran a similar version of the drill going all the way back to the 1980's -- "a one-day event of total blowout called Rocket Fire where it was an hour and 20 minutes of just killing you," Gardenhire said.

"You're testing the mental of infielders by once they get really tired is when mistakes happen and they get sloppy. We try to see who remains in control out there. You start huffing and puffing and running all over, you start seeing the guys that get sloppy when they get tired and you see the guys who start slowing the game down, take their time, catch the ball and make the plays."

Gardenhire said he expects catchers Ryan Doumit and Joe Mauer to take reps at first base during Good Morning America.

And Ryan said Tsuyoshi Nishioka will likely see time at third base over the next couple weeks.

Health report

• One day after receiving a cortisone shot in his strained right shoulder, infielder Luke Hughes continued therapy and exercises. He said Wednesday he hopes to resume baseball activities next week.

Numbers game

67: Players on the spring training roster after the Twins signed catcher Danny Rams. With 33 pitchers in camp, the Twins wanted a ninth catcher to help cut down on the wear and tear.

5: The approximate number of inches of hair cut off Joe Benson's thick mane on Wednesday.

3: 'B'-squad games scheduled by the Twins this week -- March 1 at 1 p.m. vs. Boston at Hammond Stadium, March 7 at 10 a.m. vs. Boston at Hammond Stadium, and March 10 at 10 a.m. vs. Pittsburgh in Bradenton.

2: Players who had yet to report as of mid-afternoon on Thursday -- Oswaldo Arcia and Pedro Florimon. Ryan said he expects both to be at practice on Friday.


"If I get angry, you guys should just tape it."
-- Gardenhire, joking about possibly getting angry during his speech to the team on Friday.

On deck

Full-squad workouts begin Friday.

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