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Updated: March 1st, 2012 4:07pm
Notebook: Twins win 'B' game; Carl Pavano to pitch spring opener

Notebook: Twins win 'B' game; Carl Pavano to pitch spring opener

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Let the games begin.

Well, sort of.

The Minnesota Twins beat the Boston Red Sox 6-5 in a 'B' game at Hammond Stadium on Thursday, two days before the start of the official spring training schedule.

Offensively, Aaron Bates provided the main punch with a two-run homer off the scorebaord in left-center. Brian Dozier went 2-for-2 with a double, J.R. Towles went 1-for-2 with an RBI, and Brian Dinkelman went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs. Joe Benson and Pedro Florimon each stole a base.

Scott Baker started for the Twins and pitched one inning, allowing a home run to Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway.

"What did I get out of today? We just got our work in," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We had good stuff in the morning. We had a good day today. We had a lot of stuff going on, a lot of action, we had some simulated game, which went real well, then the ballgame today is just getting them out there and getting them on the field. Everything went good."

Starters set

Gardenhire announced Carl Pavano will start the spring opener on Saturday at home against the Tampa Bay Rays. Pavano was also named opening day starter for the regular season in January.

The Twins have a split-squad schedule on Sunday, with right-hander Terry Doyle starting down the street against the Boston Red Sox and Liriano starting in Port Charlotte against the Rays.

Numbers game

2/3: Innings pitched by right-hander Carlos Gutierrez, who struggled so mightily the Twins pulled the plug on his inning before he could finish it (teams do this sometimes during 'B' games because they don't want pitch counts to skyrocket). Gutierrez gave up two earned runs on one hit and three walks.

"Gutierrez was misfiring, didn't make any adjustments," Gardenhire said. "Velocity's good but you've got to make adjustments; you've got to step back and throw the ball over the plate. He stopped the game; I think we all saw that, and that's what we don't want. We don't want people to stop the game. ... First time out, maybe he's a little nervous, but he's better than that. He's been pitching at the high levels here and he's got to do a little better than that."

3: The number of umpires who showed up late for Thursday's game, causing coach Steve Liddle and one of the groundskeepers to ump the first inning.

1: Broken dog tag chain when Josh Willingham took an aggressive swing during batting practice.

77: The jersey number of Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk, who took batting practice and hung around Hammond Stadium on Thursday.

Health report

Denard Span suffered a cut lip after he ran face-first into the chain-link fence in center field during a simulated game Thursday morning. He remained in the game and later took batting practice.

• INF Luke Hughes (shoulder) was expected to throw from 90 feet on Thursday. He's hoping to return to action sometime next week.

Overheard

"I hope he didn't break the fence."
-- Gardenhire, when asked what his thoughts were after he saw Span crashing into the fence.

On deck

Friday is the Twins' last full day of full-squad workouts before the spring schedule begins. The plan is to go through full rounds of infield and outfield, plus cutoffs, relays, pitcher fielding practice, bunts, signs and batting practice, but no live pitching sessions.

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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