FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Ron Gardenhire said he's fine with Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau playing in the World Baseball Classic, but the Twins' skipper admitted he's nervous because of the risk of injury in the tournament.
Mauer, who is playing for Team USA, and Morneau, who is playing for Team Canada, both played in exhibition games in Arizona on Tuesday to get ready for the Classic. Both teams open up play in Arizona on Friday, with the USA playing Mexico and Canada playing Italy.
Mauer also could see more action at first base than originally expected, as Mark Teixeira withdrew from the tournament with a strained forearm.
Gardenhire said he knows both players are proud to represent their countries, but also said he's just hoping neither one gets hurt.
"It's a nervous time, because some of our best players are there and we want them to come back healthy," Gardenhire said. "They haven't played nine innings yet, so now they're playing nine innings in competitive baseball. It's serious stuff. So I'm worried a little bit here. We have two big pieces of our puzzle playing here along with some other of our guys."
Infielder James Beresford will be the first of 13 Twins players to return from action in the Classic after Team Australia was eliminated by going 0-3 against Chinese Taipei, Korea and the Netherlands in Taiwan. Beresford went 1-for-9 in the three losses.
Arcia, Mastroianni not yet cleared for return
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Injured Twins outfielders Oswaldo Arcia and Darin Mastroianni have been ruled out for a return in the club's split-squad action on Thursday, manager Ron Gardenhire said Tuesday.
Arcia, who has yet to play in a Grapefruit League game because of a pulled intercostal muscle, took batting practice in the cages on Tuesday but still isn't quite ready to return.
And Mastroianni, who is dealing with a sore left hamstring that he tweaked last week, is expected to be out a few more days.
"It's still later this week," Gardenhire said. "Neither one of them are going to be ready to play on Thursday in the split-squad. So I guess we'll see where we're at Friday or Saturday. But you just don't know. But both are feeling better for sure."
Twins turning double plays aplenty early on
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Manager Ron Gardenhire liked what he saw from his defense against the Rays on Tuesday, but he said it all unraveled in one bad inning in the Twins' 8-5 loss at Hammond Stadium.
The Twins turned three double plays, a day after turning five against the Cardinals in Jupiter, to give them eight in 13 innings.
"We had a bunch of them," Gardenhire said. "We turned a lot of really nice ones. [Pedro] Florimon turned a nice one deep in the hole, getting it to Jamey [Carroll] there."
But it was all for naught, as reliever Tim Wood struggled in the eighth inning by giving up five runs and allowing two stolen bases. Gardenhire, though, said he still has faith in Wood -- who is competing for a spot in the bullpen -- but that he just needs to work on holding runners.
"We had really seven good innings of baseball, and then Woody came in and ran into some problems," Gardenhire said. "He had a rough day today, but he'll bounce back. We'll put him back out there again in a couple days. But as we told him already, he needs to handle the running game."