MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins wasted no time getting new addition Clete Thomas into the lineup, as he started in right field and batted eighth against the Rangers on Sunday.
Thomas, who belted a two-run homer in the fifth inning, was claimed off waivers from the Tigers on Saturday, while Ben Revere was optioned to Triple-A Rochester to make room for him on the roster. Thomas appeared in three games with the Tigers this season, but he didn't have any plate appearances before he was designated for assignment on April 12.
"I was excited," Thomas said. "I hadn't played in two weeks. I was ready to go."
Thomas, 28, entered Sunday as a career .253 hitter with eight homers, 22 doubles, four triples and five stolen bases in 145 games with the Tigers. Thomas played with Triple-A Toledo last year, hitting .251 with 12 homers, 15 doubles and 20 stolen bases in 113 games.
The Twins have long been familiar with Thomas, as he was drafted by the club in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft but didn't sign.
"We've seen him quite a bit," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "The one thing he can do is hit a ball a long way. He might strike out a little more than you'd like, but it comes with some power."
Twins honor Jackie with pregame ceremony
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins celebrated the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier with a pregame ceremony before Sunday's game against the Rangers.
Additionally, all players from the Twins and Rangers, as well as on-field personnel, wore Robinson's No. 42 during the game.
The ceremony began with a special tribute to Robinson narrated by Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully that aired in ballparks across the country.
Robinsons are great ambassadors
Justice: Jackie's courage immeasurable
Rickey's foresight shaped game
RBI, UYA, CRG embody Jackie's spirit
More on Jackie Robinson Day
Jackie Robinson Foundation
A look back at barrier breakers
Jackie Robinson Day
Jackie Robinson's debut in 1947
MLB Network examines Jackie's life
MLB.com's looks at No. 42
Shop the Jackie Robinson collection
The Twins then honored this year's Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholars: Keon Blasingame, Alex Kado, Tasha Byers and Andrea Glover. Joining this year's scholars on the field were alums Ashley Bailey, Lorna Her Many Horses and Simon Ndely, as well as Minnesota Commissioner of Human Rights Kevin Lyndsey.
The Twins also recognized the four winners of the Jackie Robinson Essay Contest: fifth-graders Jacob Arkadie and Aria Norcross, fourth-grader Anton Jackson and third-grader Kaliisa Echols.
Lastly, the Twins aired another video tribute, this one featuring center fielder Denard Span, who talked about how much Robinson means to him as an African-American player and how much of an honor it is to wear No. 42 on Jackie Robinson Day.
The Twins started their Jackie Robinson celebrations a day early, too, as they hosted a free baseball clinic at North High Community School in Minneapolis on Saturday. It was hosted by the Minnesota Twins Community Fund, Minnesota Twins RBI, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Hospitality House, Minneapolis North YMCA and FILO. It also featured a presentation of the film "Letters from Jackie" by Ron Rabinovitz.
Blackburn's shoulder MRI comes back normal
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins received good news Sunday, as the MRI taken on right-hander Nick Blackburn's right shoulder came back normal, general manager Terry Ryan said.
Blackburn left his start against the Rangers on Saturday after 5 1/3 innings due to stiffness in his right shoulder. His shoulder cramped up after a pitch to David Murphy, and he was removed from the game in the middle of the at-bat.
He had an MRI taken on his shoulder after the game as a precaution, but everything came back fine, so there's hope he could make his next start on Thursday in New York.
"He came in this morning and he feels OK," Ryan said. "He's a little stiff. We're going to take this a day at a time here and see how he responds. All indications are he's going to be OK. But we're certainly going to be cautious. We'll see how he feels tomorrow."
Blackburn said that he never felt pain in his shoulder, as it was tightness that bothered him from one pitch that inning. He added that he's hopeful he'll make his next start, and was relieved to hear the good news about his MRI.
"For a pitcher's shoulder, I was told it was actually pretty good," Blackburn said. "It's a promising thing to hear. So the fact that it was less [damage] than typical was a positive thing."
Ryan also announced that right-hander Jason Marquis will make his first start of the season on Wednesday against the Yankees after making two starts with Double-A New Britain.
It helps give the Twins some flexibility with Blackburn, as right-hander Anthony Swarzak could start in New York if Blackburn's not ready to go.
"We'll let [Blackburn] go a couple days and then see if he can throw a bullpen and see how that goes," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Then we'll figure out what we'll do. We have some guys we sent down and some people here, too. [Brian] Duensing could be a guy, but he's not stretched out. So we have some decisions."