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Updated: March 26th, 2011 6:34pm
Gardenhire hasn't seen enough from Scott Diamond to award roster spot

Gardenhire hasn't seen enough from Scott Diamond to award roster spot

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Minnesota Twins Rule-5 draftee Scott Diamond came into spring training with an excellent chance to earn a spot on the 25-man roster as a mid-inning, left-handed reliever, but things haven't exactly gone according to plan.

Diamond developed a blister the thumb of his pitching hand in early-March, and it broke open to the point where he was actually bleeding on the baseball on March 12 against the Cardinals in Jupiter.

Prior to that, the 24-year-old Diamond -- making a transition from starter to reliever -- was struggling somewhat with control and pace on the mound.

The good news is that the blister has finally subsided -- "I'd like to think it's in the rear view mirror," Diamond said, adding, "We've tried everything. It's been an ongoing spring-training experiment." -- and the left-hander threw in his second minor-league game of the week on Saturday, allowing one unearned run in two innings.

"That was kind of a day to test the blister, to see how it would hold up for a longer period of time throwing. It's been holding up fine and staying together."

"Today was to see if the control was back."

The bad news, of course, is that with only two spring training games remaining until the Twins head to Atlanta for two exhibition games, time may have run out on Diamond to crack the 25-man roster.

He's one of five relievers battling for the three final bullpen spots, along with left-handers Dusty Hughes and Glen Perkins, and right-handers Jeff Manship and Jim Hoey.

"We haven't seen a whole lot," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Today was the best I've seen him throw the ball. It came out of his hand pretty decent. He's got a running fastball with a nice little cutter and a breaking ball, so that's the best I've seen him throw the ball."

Impressive enough that Gardenhire would be comfortable with Diamond being one of the Twins' seven major-league relievers?

"No. Not in the major leagues right now."

Gardenhire added, "He's not out. You asked me if I'm comfortable right now. I haven't seen enough to be comfortable with him. That doesn't mean the organization, that means me. I haven't seen him pitch enough."

"I would love to see more."

If the Twins elect not to keep Diamond on the roster, he must be waived, then offered back to his former team, the Atlanta Braves, per rule-5 draft guidelines. The Twins could also retain Diamond via trade.

"It's a little frustrating, because I felt like I was starting to get back into a groove and feel everything out," said Diamond, who admitted trying everything, including blister cream and crazy glue, to heal his thumb. "I talked to (pitching coach Rick Anderson) and Gardy about things that I need to work on, and then this kind of happened. So it's a little frustrating, but hopefully if I've shown well for the most part I'll put the pressure on them."

"I'd like to think I am (a Twin)," Diamond added. "Since Day 1 I've fit right into this clubhouse. These guys have been awesome, and it's really something I don't want to leave. I'd like to think I'm a Twin, and if I get the nod then it's going to be that much more exciting, really."

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