Spring Training News Preview

Dave Sandford

We're now just days away from the opening of camp. Here's a look at the stories we're expecting to see as the Twins head for Fort Myers.

Twins pitchers and catchers begin work next Tuesday, February 12, and already players, fans, and media members are heading for sunny Florida climates. News will start trickling out soon, and we want to get a jump on things here at Twinkie Town, so here's a look at what we're expecting from some of the first week's news.

Slama added to 40-man roster - in unusual role

FORT MYERS - The Minnesota Twins announced that righthander Anthony Slama, so successful in recent years as a closer at Triple-A Rochester, would be part of the big club in 2013 - but as a footstool.

"We know that Slama's had great success at Rochester, and we want to reward that," said general manager Terry Ryan. "But we sent a bunch of scouts down there, since we had a couple free after they were done recommending Tsuyoshi Nishioka, and they all said that he's just not going to get the job done in the big leagues. So we racked our brains about how we could get him up here, and we thought, hey - Aaron Hicks is going to need a place to rest his feet when he's kicking back. Slama can help there, and we know he'll do anything he can to help the ball club."

Slama could not be reached for comment, as Kyle Gibson needed a place to sit down and the nearest armchair was, like, all the way across the room.

Twins announce three extra pitchers in camp

FORT MYERS - Saying that they're "not sure who we all invited" to camp, the Twins have provided the media with a somewhat incomplete list of pitchers who have reported to camp. The team was widely expected to have a record number of arms as part of their spring training roster, but according to management, three more pitchers than expected reported.

Said a team insider, "Well, we know we invited 32 or so, and Rob Antony says he thinks he might have invited like five more one night when he was drunk. Plus when Cole De Vries showed up, his name wasn't on any of the lists, but we know we invited him. And we're like 95% sure that Esmerling Vasquez isn't here, but nobody can really remember what he looks like. And there's a guy who says his name is Joey Kickassterston, but pending a medical records check we're pretty sure we're going to find out that Carl Pavano just had nothing better to do. And - do you guys remember someone named Lester Oliveros? He says he pitched last year, but that just doesn't sound right."

The list provided to the media is similarly vague. It lists only six names in full - Scott Diamond, Glen Perkins, Vance Worley, Jared Burton, Alex Burnett, and Rich Harden - and is otherwise filled in with first names, nicknames, and descriptors, like "That big guy who we think is left-handed" (presumably Tyler Robertson), and "Mets guy with one arm" (Mike Pelfrey), and "Guy who ate the tub of Icy Hot in the bullpen on a dare last year" (no idea, but rumors are that it's Casey Fien).

Morneau returns from WBC following birth certificate controversy

FORT MYERS - Justin Morneau has returned to spring training following the Vancouver Sun's report that Morneau - far from having been born and raised in Western Canada - is in fact a native of Topeka, Kansas.

Said Bob Anderson, a spokesman for SFX Baseball, Morneau's agent, "Justin has been a victim of an unfortunate prank. It turns out his dad visited Canada when Justin was very little, and fell in love with maple candy, so much so that he ate far too much and caused a chemical imbalance in his brain that resulted in a decades-long psychotic break from reality. Justin's only crime was trusting his father - that, I guess, and believing his dad's increasingly-implausible explanations for why the Canucks were never on television."

Morneau refused to comment for this story, which makes sense because he's not Canadian and therefore isn't very nice.

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