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For Gibson, Spring Training is close to home

MLB.com @RhettBollinger

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Kyle Gibson's typical day during Spring Training begins like many others, waking up shortly after dawn and getting to the ballpark around 7 a.m.

But unlike most of his Twins teammates, Gibson doesn't wake up in a rented home or condo, as he made the decision to buy a house in Fort Myers a few years ago. The Indiana native is thus able to spend Spring Training in the same place he lives during the offseason with his wife, Elizabeth, and their daughter, Hayden, who turns two on March 6.

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Kyle Gibson's typical day during Spring Training begins like many others, waking up shortly after dawn and getting to the ballpark around 7 a.m.

But unlike most of his Twins teammates, Gibson doesn't wake up in a rented home or condo, as he made the decision to buy a house in Fort Myers a few years ago. The Indiana native is thus able to spend Spring Training in the same place he lives during the offseason with his wife, Elizabeth, and their daughter, Hayden, who turns two on March 6.

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"It's great," Gibson said. "I wake up and it takes me like 10-12 minutes to get to the park. I get to go home to my wife and my daughter and dog every day. I don't have to worry about when they're coming home or when they're leaving. It's definitely an advantage."

The first thing Gibson does once he gets to the park is eat breakfast, and he's changed his diet this year, as he's cut out refined sugar and egg yolks. His wife, whom he met while at the University of Missouri, studied exercise and nutrition in college and has helped him create a healthy meal plan, as high cholesterol runs in his family.

"I'm still eating fruits and sugar that occurs naturally, but otherwise, I'm cutting out extra sugar," Gibson said. "And I've had high cholesterol the last couple years, and Elizabeth told me I had to do something about it, so I've cut out egg yolks. I love scrambled eggs, but every egg yolk has like 300 milligrams of cholesterol. So I've been cutting out egg yolks and skipping syrup on pancakes. Just trying to mash up fruit or eat yogurt."

After his breakfast, Gibson heads straight to the training room, as the 6-foot-6 right-hander gets stretched out by the training staff and makes sure to get extra work done on his back.

"If I'm in there around 7:30, I'm in there until about 8:15," Gibson said. "I had a sore back last year that kind of lingered, so I'm trying to make sure that stays away. And make sure I get all my arm stuff done. And then we have the team meeting, and I try to follow the schedule as close as I can."

The Twins print out a schedule every morning that's posted on both sides of the clubhouse for players to find out their activities for the day. Team meetings are generally held at 9 a.m., with the workouts beginning roughly 30 minutes to an hour after the meeting.

Pitchers are broken up into three groups, with half of them throwing live batting practice and the rest working on fundamentals and running from foul pole to foul pole. Gibson threw his first live batting practice of the year on Sunday at 11 a.m., facing hitters such as Kennys Vargas and prospect Adam Brett Walker.

"I like the live BP," said Gibson, who is lined up to make his Grapefruit League debut against the Rays on Sunday. "I'm a fan of both PFP [pitcher fielding practice] and live BP. And I'm probably in the minority with that. It's always good to get back on the mound and see guys taking swings. It's good to get feedback right away. The first thing I did was go up to Adam Brett Walker and ask him about my curveball and slider and what he sees as the difference. So everybody realizes it's there to help everybody, and it's a lot of fun."

After he throws, Gibson gets more treatment to make sure his arm responds properly. Gibson underwent Tommy John surgery in Sept. 2011, but he has otherwise been healthy while with the Twins. Once Gibson is done for the day, he makes time for the media if he's needed for an interview, and once those obligations are done, he heads home to see his wife and daughter.

"Right now, my hobbies are down to a minimum, but I do like to fish and golf," Gibson said. "[Glen] Perkins took me out fishing about a week ago. But really, it's just about spending as much time as I can with my family. I try to spend time at home because I'm here from 7 to until about 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and the little one goes down for a nap about that time. Any time that cuts into after her naptime really just takes away from me getting to see her."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast.

Minnesota Twins, Kyle Gibson