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Updated: March 27th, 2011 3:58pm
Live from Florida, Day 39: Starting rotation order set

Live from Florida, Day 39: Starting rotation order set

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

Today's result

Twins 7, Yankees 6

After Sunday's win over the Yankees -- which, interestingly, kept the Twins (18-11) in contention for the Grapefruit League title -- manager Ron Gardenhire unveiled the order of his five-man rotation.

Right-hander Carl Pavano will pitch opening day on April 1 in Toronto, followed by left-hander Francisco Liriano and right-hander Nick Blackburn. Right-hander Scott Baker and left-hander Brian Duensing will then pitch at Yankee Stadium on April 4-5.

Pavano gave up five runs (four earned) in six innings in his final spring start on Sunday, allowing seven hits while walking one and striking out four.

A reporter told Pavano afterward that he heard a scout suggest the right-hander looked better this spring than almost any pitcher in the league.

"He wasn't at today's game, I guarantee it," Pavano joked. "He'd get his talent-evaluator license taken away."

Overall, however, Pavano has been fantastic this spring.

"I feel good. There's no way around that. I do feel good. I'm excited to get this show in the road."

• Top prospect Aaron Hicks made his first spring-training start, coming over from minor-league camp to play center field and bat leadoff. Hicks went 0-for-3 with two walks and a strikeout.

Who's hot

OF Delmon Young is absolutely scalding the ball in spring training. With a double and a warning-track flyout on Sunday, Young is now 17-for-41 (.415) with three home runs and three doubles.

OF Michael Cuddyer also seems to be seeing the ball well. Cuddyer, celebrating his 32nd birthday on Sunday, smoked Buddy Carlyle pitch over the Big City Reds sign in left-center field in the first inning.

Who's not

OF Brian Dinkelman had the roughest spring, going 3-for-46 (.065) with 10 strikeouts. Dinkelman will start the season at Class-AAA Rochester.

Numbers game

85: The jersey number of ambidextrous Yankees pitcher Pat Venditte. The second batter Venditte faced was the switch-hitting Matt Tolbert. Under this circumstance, the pitcher must declare which arm he will throw with, and the batter can then choose which side of the plate he wants to hit from. Venditte choose to throw left-handed to Tolbert, who swung right-handed and grounded out to second base.

25: The Twins have finalized the 25-man roster.

Health watch

• Gardenhire told 1500 ESPN on Sunday that first baseman Justin Morneau (concussion) is scheduled to play in his fourth consecutive game on Monday. If all goes well, "you'll probably get a statement saying he's ready to go," he said. When asked if there was any question Morneau would be ready for April 1, Gardenhire said, "In my mind, no. I think he's fine. But I'm not the doctor, and I'm not privvy to the conversations they have together. That's just me. I believe everything's going great."


"We might even get them both up down there and wait until the (expletive) door opens. We might have a spotlight on their ass and do a little American Idol stuff."
-- Gardenhire, jokingly, when asked if he was going to make a definitive announcement about the closer role in the coming days. Gardenhire hinted very strongly that Nathan would get the first shot at closing, with Capps being ready in reserve if Nathan can't pitch three or four consecutive days.

"We have to bring four guys down, and I like Fort Myers. I don't like it too much (laughs). But it's a cool venue down here ... Don't tell my manager."
-- Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, when asked how he wound up making the two-and-a-half-hour bus ride from Tampa to Fort Myers on Sunday.

On deck

The Twins wrap up Grapefruit League play on Monday at home against the Pittsburgh Pirates. LHP Francisco Liriano is scheduled to face RHP Jeff Karstens.

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