Live from Florida, Day 13: Baker labors; Nathan to add more changeups
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A rundown of the news, notes and quotes from Tuesday at Minnesota Twins spring training:
Red Sox 5, Twins 0
• 3B Danny Valencia: This might be a bit of a stretch, but Valencia provided the only offense for the Twins on Tuesday -- 2-for-2 with two singles. He has also been hitting bombs during batting practice, so partial credit for that.
• RHP Scott Baker: It's probably not fair to lump starting pitchers into the "who's not" category very often during spring training, but Baker made his first spring-training appearance on Tuesday and labored, throwing 40 pitches in 1 2/3 innings.
Baker struggled with command, allowing a run on two hits and a walk. Baker said afterward that his arm felt a bit "dead," but he feels like he's back on track after a minor setback in February with his surgically-repaired elbow.
"He feels good, and early in spring that's kind of what we're looking for," Gardenhire said. "He feels good, he doesn't feel any pain in his arm. We'll see how he comes out (Wednesday), all those things, but he's been feeling great. Just one of those innings where he couldn't get the ball where he wanted to."
4: The number of hits the Twins offense came up with against Jon Lester and company on Tuesday.
0.9%: The percent of changeups Joe Nathan has thrown throughout his career. Nathan, who throws mostly fastballs, sliders and curveballs, plans to mix in more changeups this season.
"I think having talked to (pitching coach Rick Anderson), he really thinks it could be a big pitch for me this year, and hitters have definitely made adjustments on me," Nathan said. "So hopefully this pitch is just something for me to make an adjustment back to them. And hopefully give an advantage that I need, hopefully get them off some of the pitches they're looking for.
"I think if I get throw this around the plate, they at least have to have in the back of their head that I'm going to have that in my repertoire, and they'll hopefully have to concentrate on that pitch as well."
• RHP Joe Nathan (elbow) made his first appearance since undergoing Tommy John surgery in March, 2010. Nathan said he "feels normal," which is a big step.
• LHP Francisco Liriano (shoulder) is on track to make his first spring-training appearance on Friday morning in a 'B' game.
• C Joe Mauer (knee) has yet to play in a spring training game, which is not unexpected. The Twins are taking things slow with Mauer, who continues to face live pitching during batting practice sessions, but likely won't do much catching until later in camp.
"I'm not too awful concerned about him," Gardenhire said. "The big thing is letting him get ready. He'll get behind the plate and eventually start catching some bullpens. We've already talked about that. His knee feels good, it's doing good now.
"I'm not saying tomorrow or the next day. That's the first thing, get bullpens, then eventually get him into games. No time table yet."
• 1B Justin Morneau (concussion) did not take part in batting practice on Tuesday, and he wasn't spotted in the clubhouse during media availability. He was scheduled to visit with doctors this week, but to this point there are no further updates.
"Andy might be mad at him, but I wasn't."
-- Gardenhire, referring to pitching coach Rick Anderson when asked about Baker's rough outing. Anderson flashed a smile.
The Twins head to Bradenton on Wednesday for a match-up with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Left-hander Brian Duensing is scheduled to pitch.