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Twins' spring tilt with Mets rained out

Twins' spring tilt with Mets rained out

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Heavy rains forced Friday's scheduled Spring Training contest between the Twins and Mets to be canceled.

Rain poured down on the Fort Myers area overnight and throughout the early part of the day on Friday, with totals as much as four inches in some areas according to news reports. It left much of the outfield at Hammond Stadium flooded as well as surrounding fields and the parking lot.

The Mets bus had arrived at Hammond Stadium, after driving across the state from Port St. Lucie, just before the game was canceled.

"It's too bad the Mets had to drive all the way over here. We were trying to get a game in here, but you just can't park out there -- [the parking lot] is under water," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "The field from the tarp last night, it was just really muddy on the field and just too much rain. Rather than take a chance on getting someone hurt, we just banged the game. That's not always easy to do when you've got a sellout, but that's all we could do. We'll just move on until tomorrow. Guys got in as much work as they could, and that's where we are at."

Twins position players took batting practice in the cages and pitchers tried to play catch in between rain showers, although another round of storms forced them back inside.

Right-hander Nick Blackburn was scheduled to start for the Twins against the Mets. According to pitching coach Rick Anderson, Blackburn will now back up starter Carl Pavano in Saturday's contest against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla., live on MLB.TV at 12:05 p.m. CT. Pitchers Clay Condrey, Jose Mijares and Pat Neshek, who had been slated to pitch Thursday, were also pushed back and will now make the trip to face the Phillies.

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Quite a few of the Twins' regular position players will also make the trip to Clearwater, including Justin Morneau, Orlando Hudson, J.J. Hardy, and Jim Thome. One player who will not be in the lineup on Saturday is catcher Joe Mauer, who is dealing with a sore right shoulder after taking a foul tip in Thursday night's contest. Gardenhire said Mauer is doing fine, but they didn't want to have him take a long bus ride and try to play with a sore shoulder. "He's doing his work, but no sense in putting him back out there," Gardenhire said.

Thursday's contest between the Mets and the Twins will not be made up. Fans who purchased tickets for the canceled game can get a refund. Season-ticket holders and fans who purchased single-game tickets by phone, mail or the Internet will receive a refund check automatically. For those fans who purchased single-game tickets for the contest at the Hammond Stadium box office, they can receive a refund by sending the tickets along with name, address and daytime telephone number to Minnesota Twins Ticket Office, Target Field -- Spring Training rainout, 1 Twins Way, Minneapolis, MN 55403.

The Twins' next home contest will be Sunday against the Red Sox at 12:05 p.m., also live on MLB.TV.

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

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