Gardenhire says Carl Pavano will be opening-day starter
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Apparently it's never too early to start thinking about an opening-day starter.
After the Minnesota Twins completed their first full-squad workout of spring training on Wednesday, manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters that right-hander Carl Pavano would be the team's opening day starter on April 1 in Toronto.
Pavano will also start Sunday's spring-training opener against the Red Sox on Sunday night.
Pavano signed a two-year, $16.5 million contract in January to remain in Minnesota. He posted a 3.75 ERA, 4.02 FIP and walked only 37 batters in 221 innings last season.
Scott Baker was the team's opening-day starter last year in Anaheim. He allowed four earned runs off five hits and three walks in 4 2/3 innings against the Angels in a 6-3 loss.
Francisco Liriano was the other logical candidate to start on opening day. Aside from Brian Duensing, Liriano led all Twins starters last season in ERA (3.62), FIP (2.66), strikeouts per nine innings (9.44) and fewest home runs allowed (9). Liriano also started Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Yankees.