Twins to face familiar foe in season opener

CHICAGO - Paul Konerko will likely be watching from the bench for the start of what figures to be his 16th and final opening day with the Chicago White Sox.

The 38-year-old first baseman turned platoon player is comfortable with that decision, which ends a streak of 15 consecutive opening-day starts.

Meanwhile, the Twins' Joe Mauer will be making his first Opening Day start at first base. He replaces Justin Morneau as the full-time first baseman for the Twins. He announced the move from catcher to first this offseason after suffering a concussion that ended his 2013 season.

Mauer says he's optimistic about 2014 despite that last three disappointing seasons.

"I think there's a lot of excitement around here, especially in our clubhouse," said Mauer. "We just gotta keep doing things the right way and we should be good."

Mauer believes some of the players have gotten valuable experience despite the accumulating losses.

"Last couple of seasons we were really young," said Mauer. "And having said that, we've had some players learn on the job. Guys like (Brian) Dozier and (Trevor) Plouffe, I think they are going to be that much better."

Minnesota's also got some new faces in the starting rotation. Right-hander Ricky Nolasco will start for the Twins. Chris Sale will pitch for Chicago. First pitch is at 3:10 p.m. on Monday.


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