Joe Mauer makes his spring training debut at designated hitter

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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.

Long time NL umpire Dutch Rennert has died

MLB.com
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MLB.com reports that long time umpire Dutch Rennert has died at the age of 88.

Rennert retired as a National League umpire after the 1992 season, so a lot of you didn’t get a chance to see him. But believe me, if you got a chance to see him in action, you’d remember him. He had one of the most distinct strikeout calls in history. He’d go turn to the side, go down on one knee, point with purpose and bellow “STRIKE . . . ONNNNNNEEEEE!”

It was quite the scene, man:

 

I used to love it when Rennert called a game I was watching on TV. I always knew the count.

Rest in Peace, Dutch. I cannot vouch for the peace of whoever is on the cloud next to yours, though.