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Updated: March 7th, 2011 4:26pm
Live from Florida, Day 19: 'No new pain' for Scott Baker in 2nd start

Live from Florida, Day 19: 'No new pain' for Scott Baker in 2nd start

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A rundown of the news, notes and quotes from Monday at Minnesota Twins spring training:

Monday's result

Cardinals 10, Twins 4

Skip Schumacher ripped Scott Baker's first pitch down the right-field line for a triple. The next Cardinals hitter, Ryan Theriot, scored Schumacher with a sacrifice fly.

From there, the top candidate for the No. 5 spot in the Twins' rotation settled down.

Baker pitched three innings and allowed only one more hit, striking out three and walking one in his second appearance since a setback in his recovery from elbow surgery delayed his spring training debut.

"Consistently trying to just (go through the) throwing motion -- it's obviously pretty tough on it," Baker said. "But at this point in spring training, what's the point of trying to push through something?

"No new pain. No discomfort. Really throwing all the pitches like I wanted to. So, it's kind of hard to complain about a lot of things when that's the case."

Manager Ron Gardenhire told reporters last week that Nick Blackburn would join Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano and Brian Duensing in the rotation. That left Baker and fellow right-hander Kevin Slowey -- who apparently heard the news via the Internet -- to vie for the final spot.

"All the tweets came out, so they went right to (pitching coach Rick Anderson) as soon as we got back," Gardenhire said. "Andy's talked to them, and we're all good. They know where they're at. But they knew that going in -- that they were fighting for a job. It's really not anything different, except now there's only one job, and as you guys wrote, anything can happen."

Asked if the competition is weighing on him, Baker said, "I'm just getting ready. That's what I have control over. Really, I just do what they tell me to do basically."

• Several Twins relievers labored as the Cardinals broke the game open. LHP Jose Mijares allowed two earned runs on four hits in the fourth inning. LHP Glen Perkins gave up two more runs on three hits in the sixth. And RHP Eric Hacker got rocked after RF Rene Tosoni lost Tony Cruz's leadoff fly in the sun, sparking a four-run Cardinals eighth. "We have to keep up the pace of the game and we need to work faster," Gardenhire said. "I hate it when those guys get out there and are too slow."

• Cardinals LF Jon Jay made a spectacular diving catch to rob Twins RF Jason Kubel of extra bases in the first inning.

• 3B Luke Hughes and C Rene Rivera each had two hits for the Twins.

Who's hot?

• Kubel singled home Denard Span in the fourth inning, improving to 8-for-15 (.533) with three doubles and five RBIs in six spring appearances.

Who's not?

• DH Jim Thome popped out to shortstop and lined out to right field, dropping him to 0-for-9 this spring. He did draw a walk in his third plate appearance before leaving for a pinch runner.

Numbers game

8,301: Attendance for Monday's game -- buoyed by a large throng of Cardinals fans -- making it the largest ever for a spring training game at Hammond Stadium. The previous record was 8,272 on March 18, 2010, against Pittsburgh.

Health watch

• RHP Joe Nathan (Tommy John surgery) threw 12 pitches -- including a series of curveballs and changeups -- in his third spring training outing, retiring three straight Cardinals in the fifth inning. His fastball topped out at 92 mph on Hammond Stadium's radar gun. "The command has really been a pleasant surprise to this point, and I can't ask for much more than what's gone on out there now as far as life on the ball, movement on the ball, sharpness and stuff," Nathan said. "Just keep moving forward and keep trying to improve and build arm strength and I'll be ready for April 1st."

• C Joe Mauer (knee) went through some catcher drills. "He's not caught a bullpen yet," Gardenhire said. "Right now, he's progressing nicely. That's what they tell me."

• LF Delmon Young (toe) could play in a "B" game on Tuesday morning, Gardenhire said. That would be his first game action.

• The Twins lost two backup catchers during the game. Danny Lehmann went to a local hospital for a CT scan after being struck in the head with a bat. (The scan came back negative.) Jair Fernandez injured a wrist and will be reevaluated on Tuesday.

• LHP Francisco Liriano (shoulder) threw a bullpen session and is expected to make his first game appearance on Wednesday against Baltimore.

• RHP Anthony Slama (elbow) was scheduled to have an MRI, the results of which were not available.

• SS Alexi Casilla (ankle) sat out the game but "was running around, doing fly balls and doing the drills," Gardenhire said. "I think it was just a mild thing, and he was running around doing everything."

• First-base coach Jerry White, who bruised a leg when a pickoff throw struck him on Sunday, was back in action.

Overheard

"Celebrate."
-- Message (in Japanese) on a sign Slowey created with athletic tape and the door from Blackburn's locker stall to honor IF Tsuyoshi Nishioka for his triple in Sunday's game against Baltimore

On deck

The Twins wrap a three-game homestand at 12:05 p.m. Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. RHP Carl Pavano is slated to face LHP Brian Burres.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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