Updated: March 21st, 2011 3:14pm
Live from Florida, Day 33: Gardenhire likes RHP Carlos Gutierrez

Live from Florida, Day 33: Gardenhire likes RHP Carlos Gutierrez

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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BRADENTON, Fla. -- A rundown of the news, notes and quotes from Monday at Minnesota Twins spring training:

Today's result

Twins 4, Pirates 1

Joe Mauer caught six innings and went 2-for-3 with two singles, a walk and an RBI.
Brian Duensing pitched five innings, allowing one run (zero earned) on three hits and a walk while striking out two.

Bullpen battle sorting out?

The Twins have just seven days remaining on their Florida stay, and they'll likely need all seven to finalize the last three bullpen spots behind Joe Nathan, Matt Capps, Jose Mijares, and whoever loses out on the fifth starter slot.

With Kyle Gibson and Alex Burnett being sent to minor-league camp, and with Pat Neshek being claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres, the numbers have dwindled somewhat, but a muddled mess still lingers.

On Monday, manager Ron Gardenhire commented on a few of the remaining candidates:

• On RHP Carlos Gutierrez: "He's still here, having a good time," Gardenhire said, with a smile that suggested he indeed loves Gutierrez's pitching abilities. "He's enjoying life ... I like his arm. Great arm, power pitcher. Big, strong kid. I sure like him a lot. Until I can get enough people to help me, you never know."

Gardenhire added that he hasn't spoken much with the front office about Gutierrez as a potential 25-man roster option, but the right-hander has definitely impressed so far.

Gutierrez -- a first-round draft pick out of Miami in 2008 -- allowed a single and a walk in a scoreless eighth inning on Monday, but he induced three groundball outs, and he has yet to allow a run in eight innings this spring.

• On LHP Dusty Hughes: "A good lefty, like we knew," Gardenhire said. "Facing him, we got to face him plenty of times, so you know the kid can get lefties out. We talked to our hitters, which is normally the best gauge, is you talk to your own hitters -- what they thought of him. They liked him. I mean, they said he was pretty tough. That tells you a little bit about him, so now you come down here and see if he can get it done. And he's pitched pretty well so far."

In nine innings this spring, Hughes has allowed zero runs, five hits and three walks while striking out five.

• On RHP Jim Hoey: "Great power arm," Gardenhire said. "He's had a good spring. For the most part he's throwing the ball really, really well. Early in camp he was up a little bit, but I think he's really concentrating on down in the zone. It's hard to tell a power pitcher to throw the ball down. He's used to punching guys out. Throwing it 96 and throwing it down at the knees is pretty good, and he's been able to do that pretty good. We like him too."

• LHP Glen Perkins, LHP Scott Diamond, RHP Kyle Waldrop and RHP Jeff Manship also remain squarely in the mix.

Waldrop and Gutierrez are not on the 40-man roster, but the Twins do have an open slot with Neshek's departure.

Numbers game

2: The number of innings Nathan threw in a minor-league game on Monday. This marked the first time Nathan has thrown more than one inning since undergoing Tommy John surgery one year ago.

Health watch

• OF Michael Cuddyer (foot) went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in a minor-league game Monday. He also played three innings in right field. If all goes well, Cuddyer will be penciled in the lineup for Wednesday night's game at Hammond Stadium -- his first official spring-training action.

Overheard

"I think you should tweet that we might have that possibility. I'm telling you what, you will fire up the internet again ... I'm telling you, the internet will be ablaze."
-- Gardenhire, when asked about the likelihood of seeing the Twins' full "A" lineup on Wednesday night, now that Cuddyer, Morneau and Mauer are all likely to suit up.

On deck

The Twins travel to Jupiter on Tuesday to play the Marlins. RHP Carl Pavano is scheduled to face RHP Ricky Nolasco.

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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