Twins have high standards for '10 season

Twins have high standards for '10 season

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Saturday marked the first full-squad workout for the Twins, and that milestone always means one thing -- time for the annual speeches.

Twins general manager Bill Smith spoke to the club before the players took the field on Saturday morning, as did manager Ron Gardenhire, and the message to everyone was pretty simple.

Following last year's American League Central title and a productive offseason, there are high expectations being placed on the Twins. No one is denying that fact, and the club itself believes it can compete for more than just another division title this year.

"Billy said, 'Expectations are high,' and I had to follow that up," Gardenhire said. "He looked right at me when he said it. I got nervous and begged the boys to please do well [laughs]."

Gardenhire was, of course, joking about the begging part, but he doesn't shy away from the fact that he believes his club could accomplish big things in 2010. He said on Friday that his message to the team would be that while there should be high expectations for this coming season, they can't look overlook the work that it takes to reach those goals.

"Sure, we have high expectations. Absolutely," Gardenhire said. "I think I do and I think everybody should [have them]. We like our baseball team. We will see how it goes."

He added, "We have never rested on our laurels. We have never said that we are OK. We will continue to work our tails off and try to outwork everybody else."

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The Twins are prepared to do just that this spring, but their first full-squad workout on Saturday had to be cut short due to rain.

The club was still able to get in the majority of its work, including the infamous Good Morning America infield drill and the pitchers' fielding practice. But when the rain started falling heavily during some of the batting-practice sessions, Gardenhire decided to halt the workout, saying that too many things can go wrong in that type of weather.

"We've got bullpens out there, we've got cages that they can throw in," Gardenhire said. "You can't stand up there. It's silly. It's not only raining, it's cold. [A pitcher] spins out, hits somebody in the head, or hurts himself, pulls a groin and what do you have? It's worthless. ... We were hoping we could get through a couple of guys, and we did. But once it started raining, I just got them off there."

Most of the pitchers who were scheduled to throw batting practice did indeed get their work completed. Gardenhire said that of the pitchers who were to pitch off the mound, only two, Kyle Waldrop and Rob Delaney, had their sessions halted, while only one, Jose Lugo, didn't get to throw at all.

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