After a six-game, seven-day road trip through Chicago and Cleveland to open the season, the Twins will finally be heading to Minneapolis to host their home opener at Target Field against the A's on Monday.
Right-hander Kevin Correia gets the nod for the Twins in the first game of the year at Target Field, while left-hander Scott Kazmir will take the mound for the A's.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said his club is excited to get back and play in front of the home crowd for the first time this season.
"It will be refreshing to get home and play in front of our fans at our ballpark," Gardenhire said. "So it'll be cool."
Correia gets the start as a reward for being the club's most consistent starter in 2013, as he posted a 4.18 ERA in a team-high 31 starts. He also registered a quality start in his first outing of the year on Wednesday against the White Sox, giving up two earned runs over six innings, but was saddled with a no-decision.
"When we were lining it up in Spring Training, we thought he could handle that," Gardenhire said about Correia starting the home opener. "He's going to do his thing. He's not going to try to do too much or overthrow it. He just does this thing. He handled it pretty good last year and gave us opportunities. So we thought this was a good thing. We thought he'd be able to handle it as well as anybody."
Both the Twins and A's will also be wearing Stand Up To Cancer patches in the game as a show of support for general manager Terry Ryan and all those impacted by cancer. In addition, both teams will sport special SU2C caps during batting practice
Ryan, 60, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in early February, and he had surgery to remove a cancerous mass from his neck on Feb. 11. He's currently undergoing radiation treatment until late April.
Before the game, Twins legends will also be on hand at their respective gates, with Bert Blyleven representing fellow Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew at Gate 3, Tony Oliva at Gate 6, Kent Hrbek at Gate 15, Tom Kelly representing Rod Carew at Gate 29 and a Twins official representing Kirby Puckett at Gate 34.
There will also be several on-field performances, as Home Free, a local A cappella group that won Season 4 of NBC's "The Sing-Off" is scheduled to perform at 2:30 p.m. CT, and the national anthem will be performed by local singer Thomasina Petrus. The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown out by Minneapolis-based actor Barkhad Abdi, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the film "Captain Phillips."
A's: Kazmir dominant against Twins in '13
Left-hander Scott Kazmir was lights-out against the Twins while pitching for the Indians last year, as he went 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA in five starts. He also had an impressive first start with the A's, scattering just three hits over 7 1/3 scoreless innings against the Indians on Wednesday.
"Very pleased with how everything turned out for the first start," Kazmir said. "Something you can build on, something you can have that foundation to progress and carry on the rest of the year."
Twins: Arcia likely out on Monday
Outfielder Oswaldo Arcia is expected to have his right wrist examined by team doctors once the Twins return to Target Field on Monday, and could be placed on the disabled list if he's not ready to play by Wednesday.
"It's just day to day," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's taken his medicine. So we'll give him a couple days of rest, and he'll get checked out by our doctors at home. We have a day off Tuesday, and he probably won't play Monday. So we'll see how we go with this. So by Wednesday, we have to make a decision here. We can't play short. We're just not going to do that this year."
• Twins left fielder Josh Willingham was diagnosed with a bruised left wrist after being hit by a pitch from Justin Masterson in the first inning of Sunday's game against the Indians. He's day to day.
• Chris Colabello had four RBIs for the Twins on Sunday, and leads the American League with 11 on the season.
• Monday's game will mark the fifth year at Target Field, as the park first opened in 2010. The Twins went 32-49 at home last year.
• Fans who attend games at Target Field this season will see that trees have returned to center field, but not in the batter's eye, which caused issues during its inaugural season in 2010. This year, the Twins added Spartan Junipers higher up in center field, just below the Minnie and Paul sign.
• The A's went 6-1 against the Twins in 2013, including 2-1 at Target Field.