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Gardenhire, players make the best of extra days off

CHICAGO -- There's only been about three weeks of baseball this year, but the Twins have had plenty of time to catch their breath.

Minnesota has already had three games postponed this young season -- Sunday and Wednesday in Minnesota and Friday night in Chicago -- because of inclement weather. Needless to say, everybody in the Twins' clubhouse is well-rested.

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"Early All-Star break," manager Ron Gardenhire joked. "I think everybody's rested. I think everybody's available. Pretty easy to say. Three days is not what you look to but Mother Nature decided it was time to take a break."

The challenges in such situations go beyond scheduling makeup dates. The starting rotation is affected with each postponement, and often -- even if they do play the game -- pregame batting practice, infield drills and workouts can be canceled or changed. The Twins were able to take batting practice on Saturday -- the weather was clear in Chicago, one of the nicest days the city has seen in weeks -- and plan to do so again before Sunday's game, when they normally would not.

"You hit in the cage a lot. That's tough," Gardenhire said. "You can't get your ground balls, you can't get your fly balls. We've got some young players that you'd like to see them get out there and run the ball down and do the drills."

The Twins opted to keep their rotation in line this weekend, with Vance Worley pitching on Saturday after he was scheduled to throw in Friday's series opener. Scott Diamond will follow him Sunday.

"A guy like Diamond is more of a concern, because he was on a routine," Gardenhire said. "He came into Spring Training behind with the surgery and on the routine, and now this is going on the eighth day. That wasn't planned, but what are you gonna do?"

Gardenhire also said he has to consider the effect it's had on his position players.

"You try to get at-bats to some of the guys, especially your bench guys that haven't played," the skipper said. "All of a sudden you get three days off and now they haven't played in a week. It's not the norm."

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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