Notes: Ortiz's arrival on hold

Notes: Ortiz's arrival on hold

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Monday marked the first opportunity for the Twins to get a look at some of the new pitchers who were brought in this offseason to help stabilize the club's unsettled pitching staff.

But there was one pitcher who was noticeably missing during the Twins' first workout. Right-hander Ramon Ortiz was nowhere to be seen.

Ortiz's arrival was put on hold due to some trouble he's had obtaining a visa in his native Dominican Republic. Ortiz, who signed a one-year, $3.1 million deal in mid-January, was not able to work on the problem Monday, as the embassy office was closed for President's Day. With the extra delays, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that he didn't expect Ortiz to report until Thursday.

But that date is still somewhat uncertain. While visa problems are nothing unusual for some players, they aren't always easily solved. And this wasn't the first time that Ortiz himself has been delayed, as he had similar trouble a few years ago as a member of the Angels.

Ortiz, who went 11-16 with a 5.57 ERA with the Nationals last season, is expected to be one of the main contenders to join the Twins rotation. Though Ortiz has been delayed from making his debut with the Twins, the team doesn't seem too concerned about the time he will miss as a result of the visa problems.

"I'm not worried about him," Gardenhire said of Ortiz. "He's a guy who knows what it takes to get himself ready. I'm anxious to get a chance to meet him. I hear he's a really classy kid."

On the mend: The first day of camp usually doesn't bring too much in regard to injury reports, and the Twins had little to worry about on Monday.

The list of injuries was minimal, with right-hander J.D. Durbin as the only pitcher or catcher worthy of any concern. Durbin is coming off a season-ending nerve injury in his right biceps, and he will be watched carefully with daily reevaluations. Durbin started playing catch on Jan. 18 and told Gardenhire that he feels fine.

As for some of the position players who arrived to camp early, Lew Ford is a few days away from being able to practice after undergoing surgery this offseason to fix a torn meniscus. The biggest concern may be with outfielder Josh Rabe, who injured his back while playing winter ball in Venezuela.

"We have concerns with that, because that's been an issue before," Gardenhire said. "We'll see how he does and how he's feeling once he gets here in camp."

Franchise sighting: Francisco Liriano was in uniform on Monday and took part in some of the running drills with the pitchers and catchers.

Liriano is still undergoing rehab and will not take part in any throwing with the staff as of now. Liriano's program currently includes some strength training and range-of-motion work. The timetable currently set for the lefty will likely enable him to play catch around April.

"He's doing very well -- I'm very pleased," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "He looks good, and I'm pleased with the diligence he's shown. He's got a smile on his face, not that he's happy about what's happened, but I think he's thrilled to be around the rest of the team. I think it's very apparent to our people that this guy has put in the time and the work which is what we were hoping for."

A minor spectacle: The crowds on hand for the first day of Twins camp were much larger than usual. Despite morning temperatures hovering in the mid-40s, approximately 60 fans gathered to watch the players as they took to the field around 9:15 a.m. ET for their first stretch.

By the time workouts had finished about two hours later, that crowd had grown to nearly 200 people. Many of the players took that as a reflection of the interest in the club after its successful 2006 campaign.

"I've never seen this many people out there," closer Joe Nathan said. "At least not this many before the position players report."

"It's really cool to see all the people," Gardenhire added. "They're excited. Obviously, we knew that was going to be the case -- this team is a very exciting baseball team."

Twins tidbits: Rondell White arrived in camp on Monday morning. Almost all of the club's starting position players have reported, except for Torii Hunter and Luis Castillo. ... Numbers have been assigned to the new Twins players, with Sidney Ponson donning No. 19, Ortiz wearing No. 44 and Jeff Cirillo sporting No. 27.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.