"Once he starts playing the outfield and proves to us that he can run the bases and play the outfield a few days in a row, then we'll see where he's at," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.Twins general manager Terry Ryan also talked with Sierra's agent to assure him that the club does indeed plan on bringing the player up once they are convinced he is healthy enough to play. Sierra signed with the Twins on a Minor League deal.
Central foes:In the Twins clubhouse just hours before their season opener, it was another game that took center stage.The big screen TV in the middle of the visitors' clubhouse was tuned to the White Sox-Indians game, and there was a noticeable amount of attention paid to how the two clubs were doing. The strong competition in the American League Central has been much talked about, but before the Twins even began play, one of the clubs took a major blow. The Indians got the bad news on Tuesday that pitcher C.C. Sabathia will likely miss three to five weeks due to a strained right oblique muscle. Though it may not change the entire complexity of the race, Rondell White knows that it could be a big bonus for Minnesota. The team has to face the Tribe this weekend in Cleveland and was expected to see Sabathia in Saturday's game. "You hate to wish anything bad on him, I know him pretty good, but he's a tough pitcher to face," White said. "You want to be out there competing against him. But not having to face him, I'm not going to complain, either." As expected: Though Gardenhire hadn't revealed a specific lineup prior to Opening Day, the one that the Twins unveiled didn't carry any surprises. There had been questions earlier in the year as to who Gardenhire would choose for the leadoff spot -- Shannon Stewart or Luis Castillo. Both have been table setters in their careers, but it came down to weighing the options of who would fit best. "We looked at a lot of different things," Gardenhire said of the batting order. The end decision was to go with Stewart leading off. With catcher Joe Mauer then as his No. 3 hitter who rarely strikes out, Gardenhire feels confident that his offense will be more productive this season. "Hopefully it sets the table for our four, five, six guys who are supposed to drive in runs," Gardenhire said of the lineup. "Maybe even seven, too, and eight. If we can get on base, it looks like we have guys that can drive in runs." Twins tidbits: The Blue Man Group performed both National Anthems prior to the game. ... With the stadium still dark following the introductions, a video highlight reel played to honor the memory of Kirby Puckett and was greeted by the crowd with a huge ovation. ... The Twins' 2006 Opening Day roster ranks as the second youngest in all of baseball with an average age of 28.46. The Marlins are the youngest, with 26.36. Coming up: Brad Radke will take the mound at Rogers Centre on Wednesday night in a 6:07 p.m. CT contest against right-hander Josh Towers and the Blue Jays.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.