MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins opened up their third season at Target Field by honoring the 2002 club that won the American League Central in a pregame ceremony prior to Monday's contest against the Angels.
Despite contraction talk prior to that season, the Twins ended up winning the AL Central for the first time in franchise history and advanced to the AL Championship Series under first-year manager Ron Gardenhire.
Gardenhire was hired by general manager Terry Ryan that January, and they're both still in the same roles, although Ryan stepped down as GM in '07 before returning this year.
"This is a nice tribute to them," Ryan said. "Obviously, these guys mean a lot to this franchise and what we stand for and what we accomplished. It'll be a joy to see quite a few of those guys. I know all of them aren't here, but a lot of them are, so that's a good thing."
Several players from that team were honored before the game in a special ceremony that included video highlights from the season. Players from that team at the ceremony included current Angels players Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins as well as Corey Koskie, Jacque Jones, Joe Mays, Doug Mientkiewicz, Denny Hocking, Brad Radke and Eddie Guardado.
Hunter recalled the '02 season fondly, saying it was his favorite while with the Twins from 1997-07.
"The 2002 season was No. 1 to me," Hunter said. "All those guys on the team were like family. We came up together, we knew each other, knew what we can and can't do, on and off the field. We were like brothers, man. We had a lot of fun."
Jones, who is now serving as hitting coach for Class A Fort Wayne in the Padres' organization, said the team was especially tight because many of them played together in the Minors.
"We came up together all the way from [Class] A ball, so we spent a lot of time together before we got up here," Jones said. "It just continued through the big leagues. In our baseball lives, we pretty much learned everything together."
Gardenhire said the thing he remembers most about that season was that he took the job not knowing if the club would be contracted, but he ended up managing a team all the way to the ALCS before falling to the Angels in five games.
"The big if was there -- if we had a team," Gardenhire said. "We all believed we would. So it was pretty neat once we got going. We had a pretty neat group of guys I'd been around as a coach. It was a pretty special group. They didn't need any coaxing. They came to play, and they came to play hard. We had a lot of fun that summer. Unfortunately, we couldn't get to the World Series and finish it, but we had a lot of fun."
Hendriks released from Baltimore hospital
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins right-hander Liam Hendriks, who missed his scheduled start on Sunday with food poisoning, was released from the hospital in Baltimore on Monday and flew back to the Twin Cities.
Hendriks will be evaluated by the club upon his return, as the Twins are still not sure when he'll be ready to rejoin the rotation. Right-hander Anthony Swarzak, who allowed just one run over five innings on Sunday in place of Hendriks, is tentatively scheduled to start again on Thursday against the Angels.
"I'm going to come to the field tomorrow and do some running and see how I recover," said Hendriks, who wasn't sure what made him sick. "I didn't lose any weight, which is a plus. It should take a few days, so we'll see how it goes."
Right-hander Jason Marquis could also rejoin the rotation soon, as he's scheduled to make his second start with Double-A New Britain on Thursday. Marquis, who missed two weeks of Spring Training tending to his 7-year-old daughter, who was injured in a bicycle accident, is expected to throw around 100 pitches.
He fared well in his first start in Double-A, allowing just one run over six innings while throwing 75 pitches.
"He's done nothing to disappointment," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "Everything he's told me is true. He's working. He threw pretty good the other day."
Ryan said the club still hasn't set an official date for right-hander Scott Baker to get a second opinion on his right elbow from Dr. David Altchek in New York this week. An MRI taken on Friday showed no new damage from the one he had last July, after which he missed 18 games with a strained flexor muscle.
Plouffe starts; Twins use fourth different lineup
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins have yet to use the same lineup in four games this season, as Trevor Plouffe made his first start in right field against the Angels on Monday.
Joe Mauer also started at first base for the second straight game, as Ryan Doumit got the start behind the plate.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said it was important to get Plouffe's and Doumit's bats in the lineup with left-hander C.J. Wilson on the mound. And Gardenhire also didn't want Doumit to start in right field without getting a feel for the way the ball comes off the wall.
"He hasn't really seen right field here, and my thought was just to catch Doumit again, and put Joe out there [at first]," Gardenhire said. "And maybe give Dooms a chance to run around the outfield [pregame], just because I know the wind will be blowing and I know the sun can pop up out there. I thought that might be a little much to make him do it right away. So I'll give him a day to see it a little bit and maybe get back to normal in a few days. Plus, it gives Plouffe a chance to see a lefty."
Waldrop plays catch for first time since injury
MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Kyle Waldrop, on the disabled list retroactive to March 26 with a strained right elbow, played catch for the first time on Monday.
Waldrop threw from 60 feet, and he said he hopes to amp it up more and throw from 90 feet later this week.
There's still no official timetable for his return, but Waldrop said that playing catch was a good first step and everything felt fine.
Waldrop was expected to make the club out of Spring Training, as he posted a 1.50 ERA in six Grapefruit League outings before feeling discomfort in his elbow late in spring.