Gardenhire says Punto is starting 3B

Published 1:25 am Friday, April 2, 2010

Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has named Nick Punto his starting third baseman for this season.

Punto won the job over Brendan Harris because Gardenhire values Punto’s defense more than the offense of Harris.

Punto hit .250 this spring and is coming off a season in which he hit only .228.

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Harris had a great spring at the plate for the Twins, hitting .375 with a team-leading 12 RBIs. Gardenhire says Harris will get plenty of at-bats early in the season because he’s liked what he’s seen from Harris this spring.

Gardenhire also says righthanded reliever Clay Condrey’s shoulder is feeling better. He will pitch in a minor league game on Saturday and join the team for opening day against the Los Angeles Angels as the final piece of the Twins bullpen.