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Twins top stars sit and watch

It is fairly clear from the lack of playing time that Ron Gardenhire is giving his stars down in Florida that he figures he has a pat hand this season.

Why look at guys that you know have major league talent? Well, there is a reason. As Detroit's Magglio Ordonez recently said, spring training is not about putting up big numbers, it is getting comfortable at the plate.

Gardy's comfort level must be pretty high because he is giving his stars plenty of time to come out. Joe Nathan, Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, the three highest-paid guys on the club, should be going through the turnstiles along with the rest of us. They should be sitting in the stands with their fans signing autographs and shooting the breeze.

Nathan is coming off surgery on his throwing arm and he says he is good to go. He must be. When we were down at a spring training game last week he was sitting in the bullpen looking at a magazine with a half dozen of his fellow relievers looking over his shoulder. It could have been a lot of different magazines but it was not U.S. News and World Report.

Mauer, who played in his first spring training game Wednesday, has been nursing a gimpy knee after having some surgery. He is like a Porsche that you do not want to scratch, much less a dent, the first time you take it out for a spin. A good guess would be that his catching days are numbered.

Morneau's problem is not just a concussion. Like tennis star Serena Williams, who is trying to recover from a myriad of health problems, the big Canadian first baseman has been dealing with depression.

With their Big Three working their way into the lineup like a blind man in a minefield, do not be surprised if the Twins do not come out like a house afire this spring.

You could surmise that Gardenhire and his coaches have been using the spring training season to look at some of their younger infielders and outfielders. First sacker Luke Hughes has shown some of his power. Ben Revere gives the Twins a good bat and some speed in the outfield. They may be coming north when camp breaks.

The Twins have also been looking at a lot of pitchers. They have several dozen in camp and out of that mob they have to find some middle relief arms to replace Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain and Jon Rauch. They could be running a couple of shuttle services between Minneapolis and their two biggest farm clubs, Rochester and New Britain, for most of the season. No one is really jumping out of the pack.