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Dozier doesn't miss beat in spring debut

Second baseman goes 1-for-2 with RBI double in first action; Aybar goes 2-for-3; Busenitz, Kinley struggle
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Despite missing time early in camp with a kidney stone, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier showed no signs of rust in his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday, going 1-for-2 with an RBI double and a walk in the Twins' 5-4 win over the Cardinals at Hammond Stadium.

After popping up to first in his first at-bat, Dozier ripped an RBI double down the left-field line to score Taylor Featherston in the third. Dozier attempted to score on Erick Aybar's single to right, but was thrown out at home.

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Despite missing time early in camp with a kidney stone, Twins second baseman Brian Dozier showed no signs of rust in his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday, going 1-for-2 with an RBI double and a walk in the Twins' 5-4 win over the Cardinals at Hammond Stadium.

After popping up to first in his first at-bat, Dozier ripped an RBI double down the left-field line to score Taylor Featherston in the third. Dozier attempted to score on Erick Aybar's single to right, but was thrown out at home.

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"He looks fine," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He knows the pace he likes to go to get ready and get into a flow. He rapped that one down the line pretty good. He had a couple nice takes on the walk."

It was also Aybar's debut after signing a Minor League deal with the Twins on Sunday, and he went 2-for-3 with an RBI single in the fifth. Aybar is competing for a spot as a utility infielder, but isn't likely to make the team unless Miguel Sano is injured or suspended to open the season.

"I feel good coming to the park and I want to keep it going," Aybar said. "Every time I come to the park, I feel better and better. I'm ready to play tomorrow, the next day, whenever they need me."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Joe Mauer and Sano are the next to make their debuts, as they're both expected to play on Wednesday against the Rays at Hammond Stadium. Sano, who is recovering from November surgery to place a titanium rod in his left shin, is slightly ahead of schedule and could start at third base. He's been fielding, running and throwing without any issues, but the Twins want him to continue to work on his conditioning.

"My biggest concern was how he felt physically with the leg, but he hasn't been inhibited at all, as far as doing drills and taking swings and ground balls," Molitor said. "We're trying to get him as risk-free as possible when he gets into the games. His conditioning was behind, we all knew that. But I know he's really anxious to play."

Camp battles
Reliever Alan Busenitz, who is coming off a solid rookie season, struggled in his second appearance of the spring. The right-hander gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits while recording two outs. Right-hander Tyler Kinley, picked up in the Rule 5 Draft, hit as high as 97 mph on the radar gun, but also scuffled, surrendering two runs on two hits while failing to get out of the sixth.

Injury updates
Ervin Santana will head to New York on Friday to have his cast removed from his right hand after undergoing surgery on his right middle finger on Feb. 6. Santana will get a better idea of when he'll be able to throw once he visits the doctor. He's expected to miss the first two-to-four weeks of the season.

• Non-roster infielder Brock Stassi is dealing with back spasms and is day to day.

Twins tidbits
• The Twins announced that all 162 regular-season games will be on television for the first time in club history. Fox Sports North will carry 154 games, Fox Sports 1 will air six games and ESPN will televise their game on April 18 against the Indians in Puerto Rico and their game against the Yankees on April 23.

• Outfielder LaMonte Wade, ranked as the club's No. 13 prospect per MLB Pipeline, has impressed early in camp. He's a patient hitter and has gone 3-for-5, including a single and a deep drive to center on Monday.

• The Twins announced plans for a second annual Prince Night at Target Field on June 8. The first 10,000 fans will receive an inflatable Prince guitar while fans who buy the Prince Night Theme package will receive a purple Twins/Prince hat. For more information on Prince Night visit twinsbaseball.com/prince.

Up next
Right-hander Jose Berrios is slated to make his spring debut against the Red Sox on Tuesday at 5:05 p.m. CT in a game that will be televised by Fox Sports North and aired on the Twins Radio Network. Berrios could be in line to start on Opening Day with Santana sidelined. Anibal Sanchez is also slated to make his Twins debut, while Fernando Romero, Trevor Hildenberger, Taylor Rogers, Ryan Pressly and Jake Reed are also scheduled to pitch.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Minnesota Twins, Erick Aybar, Alan Busenitz, Brian Dozier, Tyler Kinley