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Mauer, Morneau, Perkins among Classic-bound Twins


FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Glen Perkins all played in their final game with the Twins on Saturday before departing for Arizona for the World Baseball Classic.

Mauer and Perkins -- both native Minnesotans -- are set to play for Team USA, while Morneau is slated to play in his third Classic with Team Canada.

Morneau went out with a bang, as he crushed a solo shot off Red Sox reliever Alfredo Aceves in his final at-bat in the fourth inning.

"Hopefully it means we're ready to go," Morneau said with a smile. "It's a good way to head in there, that's for sure."

Morneau has played well this spring, as he's hitting .471 (8-for-17) with a team-high eight RBIs in six games. He said it was important to play in six of the club's first eight Spring Training games to get ready for the Classic.

"As soon as the game starts, you know your intensity will be a little higher than it would be during this point in spring," Morneau said. "I'm not saying I'm not trying here or anything like that, but I have to know I'll be ready to play in playoff-type baseball in a few days. I think everyone knows what's at stake and that's what makes fun."

Perkins also fared well against the Red Sox, as he retired all three batters he faced in the fourth, including two strikeouts. He's yet to give up a run in 3 1/3 innings.

"To get selected to play with a group of guys like that is humbling more than anything," Perkins said. "It's been a long road to get there, so I'm excited for it. I'm looking forward to ride the coattails. There are so many players there who are better than I am."

Mauer, meanwhile, went 1-for-3 and is hitting .364 (4-for-11) with a .563 on-base percentage in five games. He caught five innings before being replaced by catcher Chris Herrmann.

Other Twins players playing in the Classic are Andrew Albers (Canada), Samuel Deduno (Dominican Republic), Chris Colabello (Italy), Shairon Martis (Netherlands), Tom Stuifbergen (Netherlands), Jose Berrios (Puerto Rico), Eddie Rosario (Puerto Rico) and Drew Butera (Italy).

"A bunch of guys are leaving, that's for sure," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We tried to get them plenty of action and we were able to do that. I think they're ready to play in games and that was our goal. They're healthy leaving and hopefully they come back healthy."

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