FORT MYERS, Fla. - For fans it will probably feel weird not seeing Joe Mauer gear up in shin guards and a chest protector, but that doesn't mean a veteran won't be behind the plate.

Offseason acquisition Kurt Suzuki broke into the league in 2007. The Hawaiian native split time over the years with Oakland and Washington.

Coaches know he's not going to hit like Mauer, but he's solid defensively and he can handle a pitching staff.

While there are other options behind the plate like Josmil Pinto and Chris Hermann, Suzuki knows this job is his to lose.

"What I can control is my performance on the field, and I feel really confident that I can go out there and perform and play some games," Suzuki said.

Suzuki has a career batting average of .253, but he is coming off of a season where he hit a combined .232 between Washington and Oakland.

"The way I look at it and I kind of take every spring training like this, if you perform, you are going to play," Suzuki said. "The better you perform, the more they are going to want you in the lineup."

The Twins will play their first game in Florida on Friday.