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Span arrives early, Mauer looks healthy and Morneau needs concussion clearance

Spring training is in full swing and the Minnesota Twins are finding reasons to believe in the upcoming season. All of the injured players from a season ago are returning healthy, and it could mean big things in 2012.
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Spring training is in full swing and the Minnesota Twins are finding reasons to believe in the upcoming season. All of the injured players from a season ago are returning healthy, and it could mean big things in 2012.

The biggest name on the team is Joe Mauer. He says he's feeling good and is going into spring training full speed ahead. After having no fun last season, the catcher says baseball is "real fun when you can get out on the field."

Meanwhile, Justin Morneau will need MLB clearance before he begins spring training. Position players don't have to report until Thursday. Morneau is expected to arrive on-time, and general manager Terry Ryan says the slugger looks ready to go, as long as he signs off on the paper work.

While the Twins will be looking to replace the combination of Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel in right field, they won't have to worry about center field ... at least not yet anyway. Denard Span went full speed through a two-hour workout on Tuesday. Span says his plan is treat this spring like "any other spring training."

On the pitching side of the equation, the Twins are hoping a couple of left-handers can keep the bullpen afloat. Brian Duensing is expected to move from the starting rotation back to the bullpen. He struggled last season, mostly because of poor mechanics. Duensing admits that when "you pitch like that, it's hard to get outs."

The other lefty in the bullpen is Glen Perkins. Perkins was one of the few positives out of bullpen last season. He increased the speed on his fastball to 97 mph, and he's convinced last season wasn't a fluke.

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It's been a while since Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau both homered in the same game, but it happened in the Twins' 10-9 win over the Angels on Thursday. Mauer was booed before he hit his home run, but he says "this is a new ball club and a new team, and we're going to fight until that 27th out is recorded."

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The Twins split squad beat the Red Sox, 2-1 Friday night. Joe Mauer made his spring training debut at first base and finished 1-2 with a walk. Justin Morneau's spring struggles continued as he went 0-4.

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After playing in only 150 games over the past two seasons, Justin Morneau is showing some rust at the plate. He's off to a 3-22 start this spring -- something manager Ron Gardenhire expected. Gardenhire says Morneau is going to have some good days and bad days, but the important thing is that he is healthy now.

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Despite very public struggles over the last few years and a lackluster spring training up to this point, Justin Morneau will likely start for the Twins at first base on opening day. However, the Twins are very deep at that position if things don't improve quickly for the former MVP.

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