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Twins reliever Caleb Thielbar moving closer to game action

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Twins pitcher Caleb Thielbar is happy with his stuff. He’s happy with his command. He’s happy with his velocity. Everything on the mound feels good. It’s when he tries to leave the mound that there’s a problem.

The 37-year-old is dealing with a left hamstring strain that has kept him out of games this spring, and the last hurdle he needs to clear before he can join his teammates in Grapefruit League action is being able to field his position.

“I’m running. Just not fast enough if I have to cover first (base) or something, and I know that’s going to happen the first game that I get in,” Thielbar said. “Instincts are going to kick in at that point, so I don’t want to push off hard and sprint over there and aggravate it or something. That’d be pointless.”

Especially in a game that doesn’t count for anything.

Thielbar got his work in on Tuesday on a back field, throwing his second live batting practice session against teammates Royce Lewis, Edouard Julien and Carlos Santana. His hamstring does not bother him when he’s pitching, which allowed him to continue on with his throwing just a few days after the injury happened.

It happened, he said, while running.

“That’s how everyone gets hurt,” Thielbar said. “Just go back to my no running program that I’ve been on the last few years.”

The southpaw, who established himself as a crucial piece in the Twins’ bullpen in 2020, believes he’ll be ready for game action soon, and he anticipates being ready for Opening Day, which is set for March 28 in Kansas City.

As for how many games he would like to get into before that, there’s no set number — he’s pleased with where he’s at, even though he hasn’t thrown in a game.

“I feel pretty ready right now, honestly,” he said. “The last two times I’ve been out, I’ve been very happy with the results and command and stuff and velo, really. … Now it’s just, I guess, getting the arm used to throwing every few days again at a really high level, which I haven’t had any problems bouncing back from that, either.”

Margot settles in

Manny Margot’s offseason may have been as hectic as they come — after being traded by the Rays to the Dodgers, he had already started to settle in at camp with his new team when he got a call from his agent, giving him a heads up that he was going to be on the move again — but the Twins’ new outfielder has now settled in nicely.

Margot arrived at camp a little over two weeks ago, racing across the country from Phoenix to join his new teammates. Before he had time to book his accommodations in Florida, first baseman Carlos Santana offered him a place to stay.

“That’s why you need to have friends,” he said.

Margot has fit in quickly to the Twins’ clubhouse. With his personality, he said, he feels comfortable anywhere — which is a good thing considering all the recent movement his offseason has featured.

“I said, ‘Wow, I’m on a new team and I need to go to the other (new) team,’ ” he said. “That lets you know you don’t play for one team. You play for 30 teams in the big leagues.”

Briefly

Joe Ryan gave up one run in four innings of a game in Lakeland against the Detroit Tigers. He struck out six. … The Twins will play split-squad games on Wednesday with Louie Varland starting against the St. Louis Cardinals at home and another group headed up to Port Charlotte to take on the Tampa Bay Rays.

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