FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- With two positions on the roster still considered wide open, the Minnesota Twins prepared to open their spring training exhibition season Thursday night at against the Boston Red Sox.
The team opened training camp Feb. 21 with pitchers and catchers and had its first full-squad workout Saturday.
''We're anxious certainly to start the spring, because we've been here long enough going through the fundamentals and all the drills,'' Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. ''It becomes a little monotonous after a while. The live games is where we're going to find out what we need to know about these guys.''
Seven more players agreed to terms Wednesday for one-year contracts with the Twins: infielders Corey Koskie and Cleatus Davidson, outfielders Torii Hunter and Brian Buchanan, pitchers Mike Redman and Travis Miller and catcher Javier Valentin. Three more players need to agree to contracts in order to complete the 40-man spring roster.
Minnesota invited 57 players to its training complex in Fort Myers. With the regular-season opener against Tampa Bay only a month off, Ryan said the positions of catcher and first base are the most uncertain.
''The catcher position is definitely wide open, and I'm not sure we're going to have an answer until we get down to around the last week of spring training,'' Ryan said. ''We've got talent at that position, but unfortunately most of them are young and inexperienced. Valentin's got a little experience (78 games with Minnesota in 1999), the most experience out of the seven guys here, but as far as a front-line catcher and a backup, we don't know yet.''
The battle at first base appears to be between Ron Coomer, Butch Huskey, Doug Mientkiewicz, David Ortiz and Mario Valdez.
Manager Tom Kelly put the team through two controlled intersquad games Wednesday, which allowed the players to get some substantial work in a game-type atmosphere.
The practice games focused on getting all the pitchers a specified amount of time on the mound, throwing no more than four pitches to each batter. The hitters each got about six at-bats, and if they made contact they ran it out like in a live game but did not stay on the bases after a base hit.
''We were able to incorporate a lot of different things into this workout,'' Kelly said. ''And we got through it with no injuries and we accomplished what we wanted to.''
Kelly will start right-hander Brad Radke on the mound against Boston's Tim Wakefield, with four other pitchers slated to get some work by night's end. Left-handers Travis Miller, Redman and Benj Sampson, and right-hander Hector Carrasco will all take the mound after Radke.
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