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Updated: March 25th, 2011 6:33pm
Live from Florida, Day 37: Twins 'basically replacing' a bullpen

Live from Florida, Day 37: Twins 'basically replacing' a bullpen

by Phil Mackey
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A rundown of the news, notes and quotes from Friday at Minnesota Twins spring training:

Today's result

Twins 6, Orioles 5

The main story on Friday was a six-run second inning for the Twins that saw several big boys -- Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Justin Morneau, Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer and even Matt Tolbert -- drive in runs.

Young, in particular, has looked phenomenal this spring, hitting .417/.447/.722 with three home runs, two doubles and only two strikeouts in 36 at-bats.

He will likely hit fifth in the regular season, as he has this spring when the "A" lineup is intact.

• RHP Scott Baker made two mistakes that wound up traveling approximately 900 feet combined -- home runs by Adam Jones and Jake Fox -- but he made it through six innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits and a walk while striking out five.

• RHP Jim Hoey may have sealed his fate as odd-man out by allowing two earned runs in the seventh inning, including a home run by Nolan Reimold.

• RHP Kevin Slowey and LHP Glen Perkins each pitched scoreless innings.

Twins 'basically replacing' a bullpen

Manager Ron Gardenhire said Friday that he will likely make a final decision about the last three bullpen slots before the team travels to Atlanta on Monday night.

"You kind of have to," Gardenhire said. "Guys have to ship their cars and all those things."

The Twins began camp with 29 pitchers, with more than a dozen having a somewhat realistic shot to earn a spot on the 25-man roster.

"There's just so many," Gardenhire said. "We're basically replacing a bullpen. We lost a lot of people, so it's going to really be a lot of new people. So I don't know if you call that hard or just trying to see if we can get them right. The thing about it, we sent some people down, and you can make adjustments as you go; you're going to start off one way, and if you don't like it, then we can adjust. That's the great thing about it. But it's definitely been different, because we've had a pretty solid bullpen, with about the same guys for quite a while.

"We're searching our way through it, and there's going to be some good moments and bad moments. We try to look at stuff and see how the ball comes out, and kind of get a feel for situational baseball. We're trying to set ourselves up, more than anything else, with situational pitching out of the bullpen. It's a work in progress."

Gardenhire made it clear last week that he is impressed with right-handers Kyle Waldrop and Carlos Gutierrez -- both of whom were informed they will begin the season at Triple-A Rochester.

"I still have a hard time letting them go," Gardenhire said. "I would like to have them, but I can't."

The relievers who are still hanging around -- Dusty Hughes, Jeff Manship, Glen Perkins, Jim Hoey and Scott Diamond -- have only three games to make closing arguments.

Numbers game

9: The number of home runs for Orioles catcher Jake Fox this spring after a solo bomb off Baker in the fourth inning.

Health watch

• Baker (elbow) has been open in recent days about the fact that his surgically-repaired elbow still isn't quite 100 percent, but so far he's been able to progress forward without it affecting his pitches.

"We've talked about it," Baker said. "It takes a while to feel 100 percent, but that's not necessarily saying you have to alter your program or anything to get you prepared for a game."

"Obviously the final decision is always left up to us," Baker added, "but I think I know -- and whoever probably has similar procedures -- that everything structurally is fine. So I'm not worried about it. It feels good. I'm out there, I'm not thinking about it, so that's the most important thing to me, as long as it's not affecting me when I'm out there."

Baker also said when he first arrived to spring training, "I wasn't feeling great. I was feeling just like I overdid it a little bit -- not real encouraged. But once I took a couple of consecutive days off... I was pretty close to what we would normally do in spring training. I wasn't too far behind. So it just gradually got better.

"Obviously the treatment that I have available here I don't have back home, so that helps."

• RHP Anthony Slama (elbow) was scheduled to throw in a minor-league game on Friday. He has been sidelined all month with a stress reaction in his pitching elbow.

• Diamond (blister) will pitch three innings in a minor-league game on Saturday.


Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu was at Hammond Stadium on Friday to throw out the first pitch. Polamalu and Mauer teamed up recently to film a Head and Shoulders shampoo commercial:

On deck

The Twins travel to City of Palms Park on Saturday to decide the Mayor's Cup with the Boston Red Sox. LHP Brian Duensing is scheduled to face RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka.

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