FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins held full-squad relay drills at Hammond Stadium on Wednesday to mark the first time they've utilized the main field for relay drills this spring.
Twins coaches hit balls into the gap with outfielders simulating game situations by throwing to second, third and home with the help of a relay man.
It's one of the most important drills of the spring in the eyes of Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who was a utility infielder during his playing days with the Mets. He encourages infielders -- especially his shortstop -- to take over and lead during the drill.
"I liked a lot of things out there today," Gardenhire said. "I liked the way the guys went about their business. Their cutoffs and relays went really nice, all on one field. Kind of changed that up, got everybody on the same page, lot of newcomers coming in and seeing what we do and learning, how we go about it and terminology."
Gardenhire added he's been impressed by Pedro Florimon at shortstop, and he remains the favorite to win that job heading into Grapefruit League play.
"He's the incumbent and I like Florimon," Gardenhire said. "I love the way he catches the ball and the way he plays. He's stronger. We'll see how he does swinging the bat. I rely on my shortstop to control that infield. I like the way he goes about his business."
Correia to start Grapefruit League opener
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Kevin Correia is slated to start Minnesota's Grapefruit League opener against the Orioles on Saturday in Sarasota, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire announced Wednesday.
Correia, who signed a two-year, $10 million deal to join the Twins this offseason, is set to make the start because the club wants him to make two starts before he departs for San Diego on Feb. 27 to be with his wife, who is due to give birth.
"We're going to get him out there a couple times before that," Gardenhire said. "Then he's going to head out. It's all planned. He'll come back after that. Right now, we'll get him out there first and go from there."
After Correia, Shairon Martis, Ryan Pressly, Josh Roenicke, Tim Wood, Anthony Slama, Luis Perdomo and Bryan Augenstein are on the list to throw against the Orioles.
The Twins, however, have yet to announce a starter for Opening Day against the Tigers on April 1 at Target Field. Left-hander Scott Diamond is the frontrunner but it'll depend on his health, as he's just starting to throw off a mound after undergoing surgery in December to have a bone chip removed from his elbow.
Pressly faces vaunted Twins' lineup
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- It was only a live batting-practice session at Hammond Stadium but it would be hard to blame right-hander Ryan Pressly for being a little nervous on Wednesday.
Pressly, who was acquired from the Red Sox in the Rule 5 Draft in December, threw against Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Josh Willingham and Trevor Plouffe with manager Ron Gardenhire watching from the infield.
"There were some big guys standing there in the box," Pressly said with a laugh. "But it was fun to face those guys and see what they can do and what I can throw to them. I thought I got good results, but they also capitalized on a few balls being up. Morneau hit a good single to center field."
Pressly fared well, as he was also able to get Morneau to swing and miss on a changeup on one of the first pitches he threw. Morneau was fooled on the pitch and wasn't happy with his swing, which was fine with Pressly.
"If I can get somebody to swear at a changeup then I'm doing my job," Pressly said. "Hopefully, I can keep doing that."
Gardenhire said he came away impressed by Pressly but wants to see him pitch in games this spring. Pressly, who has yet to pitch above Double-A, is set to make his Grapefruit League debut in the club's opener against the Orioles on Saturday.
"It was good," Gardenhire said of Pressly. "He misfired a little bit. Fastball was pretty decent. Second time out there, first time I've seen him. Spinning the ball. I don't put as much stock into watching him throw in this cage as we do in the games and everything. That will be telltale. But he handled himself all right."
Pressly must remain on the Twins' 25-man roster for the entire season, or else he must be offered back to the Red Sox. Another option -- if they don't want to keep him on the active roster all year -- would be to offer him back and acquire him in a trade like the Twins did in 2011 with Scott Diamond.