Joe Mauer is making his spring training debut this afternoon, batting third and starting at designated hitter after mostly sitting out the first two weeks of camp following offseason knee surgery.
Mauer has already begun catching bullpen sessions and has repeatedly said that he has no doubts about being ready for Opening Day, so presumably he’ll see some action behind the plate by next week.
Also of note, as Twins manager of baseball communications Dustin Morse points out today is the first time Mauer and Justin Morneau are in the same lineup together since July 7 of last season.
The Fernando Rodney Experience hasn’t been a good one for the Twins thus far. The veteran closer served up three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to the Yankees on Thursday afternoon, erasing a 4-1 lead and blowing his third save in five opportunities.
In the ninth, Didi Gregorius reached on a throwing error by Miguel Sano. Giancarlo Stanton then singled, and Gary Sanchez followed up with a walk-off three-run home run.
Rodney, 41, now sports a 6.75 ERA on the year. He inked a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Twins back in December. The club has an option for next year worth $4.25 million. If things keep going the way they’re going, the Twins aren’t going to want to pick up that option.
The Twins may even want to think about moving Ryan Pressly or Addison Reed into the closer’s role, even if just temporarily. Pressly has been terrific, tossing 13 scoreless innings with 18 strikeouts. Reed has a 2.25 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 12 innings.