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Updated: March 7th, 2012 3:59pm
Notebook: Mauer getting productive reps at 1B; Morneau doubles

Notebook: Mauer getting productive reps at 1B; Morneau doubles

by Phil Mackey
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Joe Mauer's experience at first base last season for the Minnesota Twins came with very little true preparation.

Sure, he took groundballs and learned footwork before pre-game batting practice in the week leading up to his early-July debut at the position. But he never had a chance to go through full spring training workouts, going through cut-off drills, practicing scoops, turning double plays, etc.

"Last year it was more of, 'Hey, here's a couple days, and get out there and do your best,'" said Mauer, who played five innings at first base in Wednesday's 'B' game against the Boston Red Sox. "So it's good to get down here and watch Morneau and (Parmelee), working with (Tom Kelly) and everybody out there, it's nice to get some work in and actually learn what I'm supposed to be doing."

Even being thrown into the fire last year, Mauer looked like a natural around first base. And he looked smooth fielding a ball to his backhand in the second inning on Wednesday.

Working closely with Justin Morneau and Tom Kelly on a regular basis over the past two weeks in Fort Myers should help make him even better.

Morneau's timing 'starting to get there'

Speaking of Morneau, he went 1-for-2 with a walk and a double in Wednesday's 'B' game -- his first (unofficial) extra-base hit of the spring season ('B' games don't count in Grapefruit League play).

"It's a good start, hopefully," Morneau said. "The timing's starting to get there."

Morneau said the plan is for him to play again on Thursday at home, which would mark his first back-to-back games of spring.

"That's usually when the timing starts to come a little bit more," Morneau said. "Sometimes you get some time off, and it's hard to find a rhythm every other day.

Morneau's double came on a 3-1 fastball by Red Sox right-hander Drake Britton.

"Just be ready to hit," he said when asked what his goals at the plate are during spring training. "You need to be on time to be able to hit the fastball, but to be able to adjust to the off-speed, I think that's kind of when I know I'm there. The changeup, the groundball I hit to second base, was just a little bit out front. I felt like I saw it pretty good, I just wasn't able to wait with my legs long enough to be able to square it up. When that starts to come -- when you're looking fastball and you're able to adjust to the off-speed and get to it -- I think that's kind of when you know the timing's a lot better."

Today's result

Orioles 6, Twins 0 in Sarasota, Fla.

Carl Pavano started and pitched three innings, allowing one run on six hits, a walk and three strikeouts.

For the second straight outing, right-hander Jason Bulger was rocked -- this time to the tune of four earned runs on four hits and a walk in just 2/3 of an inning.

The Twins' offense tallied just six hits, all singles.

Numbers game

81.00: Bulger's spring ERA.

1: Scoreless inning thrown by right-hander Jared Burton, who might be the most likely non-roster invite with a chance to break camp.

1: Outfield assist for Rene Tosoni, who gunned down Jai Miller at home in the eighth inning.

1: RBI single for Trevor Plouffe in Wednesday morning's 'B' game. Plouffe started in left field but also got some work in at shortstop later in the game.

Health report

• Right-hander Nick Blackburn believes a shift in where he stands on the rubber takes pressure off his elbow and forearm.


"I looked over there and was like, `who is that?'"
-- Blackburn, on Mauer's ranging scoop of a groundball in the 'B' game.

On deck

Thursday: vs. Rays, 12:05 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano vs. RHP Chris Archer
Friday: vs. Cardinals, 12:05 p.m., RHP Jason Marquis vs. RHP Adam Wainwright

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