Twins face crosstown rival to open spring training

Major League Baseball spring training games have been going on for a couple of days. But for the first time this year, the Minnesota Twins will take the field on Thursday against their Fort Myers, Fla., counterparts.

The Boston Red Sox will be the opponent for the next three days of spring ball.

Thursday’s matchup features Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey on the mound for the Twins against Josh Beckett. Friday pits Carl Pavano against Jon Lester, and Saturday is Francisco Liriano against the newest Red Sox starter John Lackey.

According to La Velle E. Neal of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Twins regulars Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, J.J. Hardy and Orlando Hudson are among the players getting the opener off. But the lineup will feature Denard Span, Jason Kubel, Michael Cuddyer and the much-awaited return of Jacque Jones.

Garrison Keillor approves of Twins new ballpark

Tip of the hat to ESPN’s Rob Neyer for the next couple of links.

Radio star Garrison Keillor - though he shouldn’t be limited to merely a "radio star" title – says on Salon.com that Target Field looks like Eighth Wonder of the World. He’s pretty impressed by the little bandbox of a ballpark being built in downtown Minneapolis.

Reading that story will get you excited for next month’s opening of the stadium.

Also, Minnesota Twins pitcher Kevin Slowey describes in detail the procedures he’s undergone with his wrist. I feel a little more pessimistic about his ability to help this team after reading that one.

On the radio today

My weekly appearance on "Sports Talk" from 1-2 p.m. on 970-AM WDAY radio is today.

I’ll be joined in studio by Dan Haglund of The Forum and WDAY’s Scott Miller.

We plan to discuss the Bison Sports Arena renovation proposed by NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor. We’ll have a guest as well, but it’s kind of up in the air as to who that guest will be. If there’s time, too, we might even talk some Twins baseball with their exhibition season starting tomorrow, though I can’t promise it.

Take part in the show by calling 293-9000 or (800) 279-9329 or e-mail talk@wday.com.

Finally, I leave you with this video I saw via the Big League Stew blog linked on the right side of my page. It’s from "12 Angry Mascots."