BALTIMORE -- When the Twins take the field against the Orioles at Camden Yards on Thursday, (2:05 p.m. CT, live on MLB.TV) several players will be experiencing Opening Day for the first time, including outfielder Ryan LaMarre, who was the biggest surprise to make the team and will be officially
BALTIMORE -- When the Twins take the field against the Orioles at Camden Yards on Thursday, (2:05 p.m. CT, live on MLB.TV) several players will be experiencing Opening Day for the first time, including outfielder Ryan LaMarre, who was the biggest surprise to make the team and will be officially added to the 40-man roster on Thursday.
LaMarre joins catcher Mitch Garver and relievers Gabriel Moya, Tyler Kinley and Trevor Hildenberger as those who had never made a big league roster out of Spring Training. LaMarre was told after Tuesday's exhibition game against the Nationals that he was going to make the club over Zack Granite as the fifth outfielder.
LaMarre, 29, hit .475/.511/.775 with two homers and 10 RBIs in 24 games this spring, crediting his new simplified swing he started working on during the offseason. LaMarre is 2-for-37 in parts of three big league seasons and admits he's bothered by his struggles in the Majors and is excited for the chance to improve on those numbers.
• Twins' roster essentially set after flurry of moves
"I feel like I'm a completely different player after this offseason than I've ever been before," LaMarre said. "You try not to think about it, but any time you see those numbers, it's not great. Hopefully I'll get an opportunity to help this team win some games."
Twins chief baseball officer Derek Falvey said telling LaMarre he made the roster was one of the highlights of camp, and he's confident that LaMarre's mechanical changes will help him offensively.
"We've always known about his defensive ability and his run tool, but offense has always been a little bit lighter," Falvey said. "So for him to use this offseason to retool his approach, I think it's just a credit to a guy looking to get better. It's impressive, and it was exciting to be able to tell him yesterday."
Garver, who will serve as backup to starting catcher Jason Castro, said he's feeling much more loose and confident after being told he made the team despite pressing offensively this spring. Garver, ranked as the club's No. 19 prospect by MLB Pipeline, had the game-winning two-run single on Tuesday and is excited for his first Opening Day.
"I don't think it's really hit me yet," Garver said. "I think tomorrow once you're on that line and you realize only a select group of people ever get to experience this, I'm going to be like, 'Wow. This is pretty cool.'"
Kinley, a Rule 5 pick, is in the most interesting position, as he must be kept on the roster all season or offered back to the Marlins. The Twins like his stuff with his big fastball and power slider, but now it's up to him to harness it.
"It's surreal," Kinley said. "It's been a crazy, humbling experience. It's something where I expected it to happen because that's the way I need to carry myself. I don't think they would've picked me if I didn't expect it."
• Falvey said the club doesn't plan to negotiate any contract extensions during the season with any of their pre-arbitration players or players in the last year of their contracts. Byron Buxton remains the most likely player to receive an extension, while James Dozier, Ervin Santana and Joe Mauer are among those in the last year of their deals.
"I think once you get to the regular season you want to focus on the games that matter that night and winning," Falvey said. "We'd prefer not to have any of those drag into the season."
• The batting order for the Twins on Opening Day is expected to be Dozier, Mauer, Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, Logan Morrison, Eduardo Escobar, Max Kepler, Buxton and Castro. Twins manager Paul Molitor said he plans to stick with that lineup early against right-handers, but it'll change against lefties.
• Molitor met with his bench players, Ehire Adrianza, Robbie Grossman, LaMarre and Garver to tell them it might be tough to find at-bats early in the season because of all the off-days. The Twins plan to use Garver around Castro's schedule, as they'd like to see Castro catch roughly 110-120 games.
• Molitor said he plans to use Zach Duke and Addison Reed as his primary setup relievers behind closer Fernando Rodney early in the season with Taylor Rogers and Hildenberger in that next wave.
Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and **Facebook**.