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Updated: March 19th, 2012 9:58am
After pain-free bullpen session, Baker could return to mound Thursday

After pain-free bullpen session, Baker could return to mound Thursday

by Phil Mackey
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Minnesota Twins right-hander Scott Baker might be back on track after his latest bout with right elbow tendinitis.

Under the close watch of pitching coach Rick Anderson and head athletic trainer Rick McWane, Baker threw a 47-pitch bullpen session on Monday morning -- a mix of fastballs, curveballs and changeups -- and he reported no issues.

"I've got a little routine that I usually do for my bullpens and my warm-ups before I pitch in a game," Baker said. "So, basically, I did that and then threw three or four hitters at the end with good intensity. That's the only thing I know to do to test. I think that still allows you to get loose as you would in a game and then you test it."

If Baker's elbow recovers on Tuesday morning, the tentative plan is for him to throw in a minor league game on Thursday.

"Feels good. I got after it. Pretty good intensity -- at least as much as I'm able to in a bullpen session," Baker said. "So, I think the next progression, what we talked about, is maybe throwing a couple innings over on the minor league side. So far, so good.

"Obviously, we have to see how I wake up (Tuesday), but I don't foresee any problems because of how it felt (Monday)."

Baker's last start came in a "B" game against the Pirates on March 10, when he threw 43 pitches and allowed five earned runs in two innings. 

With standard four days' rest between starts, Baker probably would only be able to ramp up to around 80 pitches before the regular season begins.

Asked how many pitches he expects to throw on Thursday, Baker said, "No clue. That's up to them. As far as I know, a couple of innings. Honestly, that's up to them. But I don't feel like ive missed enough time where I need to backtrack, if any."

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Scott Baker