If you're using dpns, just put the sts on 2 of them and use another to join and work the first few rounds. After you've got more sts increased and rounds then add the other needles and rearrange the sts. It's eaisier to work with just the 2 needles than 4 to begin with.
If you're using 2 circs, then put the sts on just the one, with a loop between them and push the sts toward the ends like ML. Use the 2nd circ to join and knit the first round. Then you can divide them up with half the sts on one and half on the other.
You can use the tail yarn to close up the hole in the middle, no matter how large it seems to be. Oh, I usually do a LT CO to start too.