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Notes: Marwin homers in 'aggressive' debut

@dohyoungpark
March 3, 2020

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Bomba Squad, assemble. The Twins had their closest approximation of a full Major League lineup thus far in Spring Training on display in Tuesday afternoon's 5-1 victory over the Tigers at Hammond Stadium. That was finally made possible by Marwin Gonzalez's return to the field following

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Bomba Squad, assemble.

The Twins had their closest approximation of a full Major League lineup thus far in Spring Training on display in Tuesday afternoon's 5-1 victory over the Tigers at Hammond Stadium. That was finally made possible by Marwin Gonzalez's return to the field following his recovery from patellar debridement surgery on his right knee in October.

Gonzalez hit eighth and started at second base in a Twins lineup that included every projected Opening Day starter for the club except second baseman Luis Arraez, who started the road game in Jupiter on Monday, and center fielder Byron Buxton, who is still completing his recovery from left shoulder surgery.

An eager Gonzalez went 2-for-2 in his return to the field with a two-run double in the second inning and a solo homer in the fifth.

"I was aggressive, man," Gonzalez said. "I swung four out of four pitches in that first at-bat."

Gonzalez said he played through pain in the knee throughout the 2019 campaign and underwent the procedure in Dallas as soon as his season ended with the Twins' sweep at the hands of the Yankees in the American League Division Series. He added that he has spent around an hour a day in the trainers' room during Spring Training to get physically ready to play.

He said he hasn't felt pain in the knee for several days but was still worried about how it would react to game play. He was tested early on defense, too, with a sharply hit ball to his left in the first inning, but he successfully snared the ball on a dive and threw the hitter, Harold Castro, out at first base.

"That was the biggest concern for me," Gonzalez said. "I was still scared today before the game. I think that is going to be normal for the first few games that I play. I have to get the confidence and feel better."

According to manager Rocco Baldelli, Gonzalez will be eased more slowly into outfield play due to the increased stress that could be put on his knee. He expects that Gonzalez will appear at first base several times but also thinks the Twins could ask for more time in the middle infield this season from the multipositional veteran, who played mostly first, third and corner outfield last year.

Twins extend radio partnership with Entercom through 2023
The Twins announced on Tuesday that they have extended their deal with media and entertainment company Entercom for four more years, renewing the radio partnership between the sides through the 2023 season. As part of the partnership, Twins games will now be simulcast on both AM and FM radio in the Twin Cities, with broadcasts on 830 WCCO and 102.9 The Wolf.

Both sister stations will carry coverage of Spring Training, regular season and postseason games starting with the Twins' game against the Tigers in the Dominican Republic on Saturday. The Twins join the D-backs, Braves and Indians as the only clubs in the Major Leagues to have both an AM and FM radio presence in their designated market area.

"We are thrilled to further extend our successful broadcast partnership with Entercom, while also bringing Twins baseball to an FM audience as a supplement to our metro flagship home on 830 WCCO," Twins president Dave St. Peter said in a statement. "While WCCO is synonymous with Twins baseball, we are excited to ensure even greater access through our simulcast on 102.9 The Wolf. We applaud and thank Entercom leadership for their shared vision in making Twins radio broadcasts an industry leader."

The 2020 season will mark the 50th year of the partnership between the Twins and 830 WCCO in the Twin Cities area. According to the club, overall listenership ratings for Twins games increased by 59 percent for the 2019 season.

Odds and ends
Jake Odorizzi threw a 52-pitch simulated game on the back fields of the complex against Minor League hitters on Tuesday. He had said after his spring debut last Wednesday that he planned to mostly throw away from the Major League side for much of Grapefruit League play -- as he did last spring -- in order to work on his improvements for the season out of sight.

"That’s just how I like it," Odorizzi said. "If I can get my same work here as I get there, I’d rather do it here where everybody’s getting scouted. Over there, everybody’s getting prepared for the season and that sort of thing. ... I think when it comes down to it, I’d like to be as most unseen as I can for the time being."

• Infielder Nick Gordon has been medically cleared to play and is expected to see the field in Thursday's road game against the Orioles. He had been limited by gastrointestinal issues early this spring. Gordon is the No. 17 prospect in the organization.

• Tuesday's game showed that there's still plenty of heat left in the organization's ranks after the trade of Brusdar Graterol to the Dodgers during the offseason. Edwar Colina, listed by MLB Pipeline as the club's No. 16 prospect, touched 100 mph on the stadium radar gun in a scoreless ninth inning and also posted several fastballs of 99 mph. No. 5 prospect Jhoan Duran also touched 99 mph in Monday's road game against the Cardinals.

Up next
The Twins will enjoy an off-day on Wednesday, their first since the start of Grapefruit League play, before they head north to Sarasota, Fla., for a road game against the Orioles. The off-day will serve as an important point for Baldelli and his coaching staff to reset their players' schedules ahead of the Twins' upcoming trip to the Dominican Republic on Saturday. The expectation is that many of the players that will play in the D.R. will hit the road on Thursday, while many that will stay back should play in Friday's home game against the Rays.

Do-Hyoung Park covers the Twins for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @dohyoungpark and on Instagram at dohyoung.park.