By Joe Christensen
FORT MYERS, FLA. — The Twins will face old friend Matt Garza today, when they square off with the Tampa Bay Rays at Hammond Stadium.
Traded from the Twins in November 2007, Garza was named MVP of last year’s ALCS. Garza is slated to be Tampa Bay’s No. 3 starter this season behind James Shields and Scott Kazmir.
Garza is 0-0 with a 5.90 ERA in three Grapefruit League starts this spring. This might be the first time he’s ever faced the Twins. Checking on that. I know it didn’t happen last year during the regular season.
Justin Morneau and Joe Crede are back in the Twins’ lineup after being scratched Sunday. Manager Ron Gardenhire said he didn’t want either of them pushing it after a two-hour rain delay.
Both lineups are pretty good today. These teams are getting serious. You can tell it’s the final week of spring training.
Update: It is indeed Garza’s first time facing the Twins.
Update: Joe Crede was hit on the hand by a fastball from Matt Garza and left the game in pain in the sixth inning. Crede probably was going to leave the game anyway for a pinch runner, but I’ll have an update postgame.
Update: Crede was diagnosed with a bruised right hand. He he has a giant ice pack wrapped around the hand but doesn’t appeared headed for X-rays. Sounds like everything is intact.
1. Akinori Iwamura, 2B
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Evan Longoria, 3B
4. Carlos Pena, 1B
5. Pat Burrell, DH
6. Dioner Navarro, C
7. Ben Zobrist, RF
8. Gabe Kapler, CF
9. Jason Bartlett, SS
Starting pitcher: RH Matt Garza
Matt Guerrier and Brian Duensing listed to pitch in relief.
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Alexi Casilla, 2B
3. Michael Cuddyer, RF
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Jason Kubel, DH
6. Delmon Young, LF
7. Joe Crede, 3B
8. Jose Morales, C
9. Nick Punto, SS
Starting pitcher: LH Glen Perkins
Hammond Stadium. First pitch: 12:05 p.m.