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Morneau plays third straight game at first


DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Justin Morneau got his wish.

While manager Ron Gardenhire was holding his media session after Minnesota's 5-4 win over the Pirates on Monday, Gardenhire received a text message from Morneau asking if he could play first base instead of serving as designated hitter against the Blue Jays on Tuesday.

Gardenhire already had him listed as designated hitter, but switched him to first base with Chris Colabello getting the start at DH. It marked Morneau's third straight game at first base, which is something he didn't do until March 22-24 last Spring Training.

Morneau said the reason for playing at first so much early in camp is to gear up for the World Baseball Classic, as he's scheduled to leave Sunday to join Team Canada.

"I just want to get my legs underneath me," said Morneau, who went 2-for-4 with an RBI against the Blue Jays and is hitting .444 this spring. "There's a big difference between playing five innings and playing nine. Playing three days in a row, I think, will speed that process up a little bit."

Morneau added that he also didn't want to just sit around and DH after a nearly 150-mile bus ride from Fort Myers.

"Two and a half hours on the bus and then get an at-bat, then sit there for an hour, then go up and try to get another at-bat, it's a little tougher," Morneau said. "Maybe if we were home, being DH might make a little more sense today. But it's kind of hard to stay loose in the dugout. You're just better off being out there, staying loose."

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