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Updated: July 5th, 2011 8:51pm
Scott Baker downplays elbow discomfort; will receive MRI Wednesday

Scott Baker downplays elbow discomfort; will receive MRI Wednesday

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- In a season filled with injuries, it's only appropriate that right-hander Scott Baker -- the Minnesota Twins' best starting pitcher through three months -- left Tuesday night's start after only five innings with what the team described as a mild right elbow strain.

Calling it "precautionary," Baker will receive an MRI on Wednesday to check for any serious damage.

"At this point in the season I'm just trying to be smart about it," said Baker, who recalls feeling some discomfort around the third inning. "I think I almost didn't say anything (to the trainers) to be honest with you, and I was going to continue to pitch with it, but it just was a little more discomfort then I would have liked to continue to pitch with. I think it's just a precautionary thing. Obviously we'll reevaluate it (Wednesday) and see where we're at."

Baker, who threw only 62 pitches, allowed one run (zero earned) on three hits in those five innings to the Tampa Bay Rays, striking out three and walking one, shaving his ERA on the season to 3.01.

Any elbow troubles for Baker are particularly concerning considering he had two cortisone shots to help calm tendinitis in 2010. But the right-hander said Tuesday's discomfort is "Not even close" to what he felt last year.

"The way it feels, it's more muscular than anything, and you know, that happens," he said. "I just think one or two pitches it can kinda tweak it a little bit and sometimes you can kinda pitch through it and sometimes you can't. There's no doubt in my mind that I could continue to pitch tonight but I just, I'm just trying to be smart about it."

Baker was scheduled to start again Sunday in the team's final game before the All-Star break, but those plans are up in the air.

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
In this story: Scott Baker