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Updated: April 3rd, 2012 3:50pm
Notebook: Twins nearing possible roster decision on Jason Marquis

Notebook: Twins nearing possible roster decision on Jason Marquis

by Phil Mackey
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Minnesota Twins are in a bit of a roster bind with Jason Marquis, who returned to the team on Tuesday after spending two weeks in New York tending to his injured, 7-year-old daughter.

Marquis said his daughter, who was involved in a bicycle accident two weeks ago, is still in the hospital, but is stable enough to where he felt comfortable returning to the team.

Marquis threw bullpen sessions and two simulated games while in New York (78 and 93 pitches with breaks between innings), but Tuesday was his first action against professionals since March 19 -- a 54-pitch outing against minor leaguers in an intersquad game.

"He came back in good shape. It was encouraging," general manager Terry Ryan said. "He threw 54 pitches. The majority were strikes. He used all his stuff. Now we'll see how he feels tomorrow."

Problem is, all parties involved agree that Marquis needs at least one more minor league start before joining the starting rotation, and because he returned to camp on Tuesday he can no longer be placed on the bereavement list.

And because Marquis isn't injured, the Twins would have to pull a fast one if they wanted to place him on the disabled list.

Asked to elaborate on the Twins' options for getting Marquis an extra minor league start, Ryan said, "He has the right to deny or accept whatever we do. It's not like I can just dictate it. ... Just let it play out. We'll see what he feels like tomorrow."

When players are placed on a team's 40-man roster, they have three minor league options (seasons in which they can be sent down without having to clear waivers).

It appears that Marquis was placed on the Atlanta Braves' 40-man roster in 2000, and that only two options were used -- one in 2000 and another in 2003. As a veteran of five-plus years, if Marquis does indeed have an option left, the Twins would need his consent to send him to a minor league team.

"My arm feels great," Marquis said.

"I know I probably definitely need one more start, and we'll go from there. We'll evaluate from there. Not going to close any doors on any possibilities. I believe in myself, I believe in my work ethic. I try not to lie to myself or the team because I don't want to not only put the team in jeopardy, I don't want to put my personal career in jeopardy also.

"Feel good with where I'm at. Just getting back in the old routine, do my running and my lifting in between starts, my normal bullpen. Sit down with Terry and we'll come up with a game plan. I don't know the legality stuff with how the basic agreement works with bereavement and optioning and all that good stuff, we got to sit down, talk to my agent, talk to Terry, and we'll come up with a game plan. And once we finalize everything obviously you guys will know."

No set number on how often Mauer will catch

With a double in three at-bats in Tuesday's spring finale, Joe Mauer's batting average actually dropped to .357.

All in all, it was a healthy, productive spring for Mauer, who also caught more than 70 innings behind the plate.

When the regular season begins, neither Mauer nor manager Ron Gardenhire have set a target for how many games the former AL MVP will catch.

"Just go game-by-game," Gardenhire said. "I play it day-by-day, and I talk to him. The communication has been between Joe and I. ... I'll talk to him on a day-to-day basis. My bottom line is I'll make the decisions. As I told Joe, 'I'll watch (you), and if I see you're wearing down, if there are times when you feel like you're pretty beat-up, let me know.' But for the most part I'll be the judge of this. I can handle this. I'll give you plenty of days where I'm not going to kill him. I'm not going to kill him early in the season. He'll get his days, and he'll get his days off like every other catcher. ...

"I have a pretty good feeling of when I think a guy looks like he's dragging a little bit at the plate, dragging a little bit in the field. I've handled that pretty well. I've done this a long time."

Today's result

Rays 6, Twins 2

Twins' final Grapefruit League record: 18-15-1

• Liam Hendriks allowed four earned runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings, striking out three and walking nobody. He will start Sunday in the series finale against the Baltimore Orioles.

• After allowing a game-tying, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning on Monday, Matt Capps pitched a clean ninth on Tuesday.

• With a double in three trips, Justin Morneau finished the spring schedule with a .254 batting average.

Numbers game

9: Consecutive games with a hit for Morneau.

.313: Ben Revere's final spring batting average

Health report

• INF Sean Burroughs (lower back strain) will be re-evaluated on Wednesday prior to the Twins' final spring game. "He told me he thought he'd be ready to play (Wednesday)," Gardenhire said. "If he's still feeling ouchy tomorrow, then we'll make some decisions here and maybe not activate him until Friday -- leave him down here, let him get some work in on Thursday and see if he makes it through before we activate him."

• RHP Scott Baker will start in Thursday's home opener for the Fort Myers Miracle. The plan is for him to throw 75 pitches. The Twins have not yet set a target date for Baker's regular-season debut, but Ryan wants to see his velocity back up in the low-90's.

Alexi Casilla played second base in a minor league game Tuesday, and he is expected to start in the Twins' final tuneup against the Miracle on Wednesday.

On deck

Wednesday: vs. Fort Myers, 12:05 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn vs. TBA.
Thursday: Off day
Friday: @ Orioles, 2:05 p.m. RHP Carl Pavano (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Jake Arrieta (0-0, 0.00)

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