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Updated: April 5th, 2012 7:24pm
Scott Baker leaves minor league start after throwing only 11 pitches

Scott Baker leaves minor league start after throwing only 11 pitches

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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Minnesota Twins right-hander Scott Baker was supposed to throw 75 pitches in his minor league outing on Thursday night. Instead, he faced only three batters.

Baker left his start for Single-A Fort Myers after throwing only 11 pitches, according to the Fort Myers News-Press. He recorded only one out and allowed a single and a double to the other two hitters.

Baker has dealt with elbow issues this spring, and GM Terry Ryan confirmed via email, "Baker just didn't feel right tonight. He couldn't seem to get loose on the mound and instead of pushing the envelope, we decided we would go get him out of the game. We will evaluate him again tomorrow."

According to NBC-2 in Fort Myers, Baker talked with catcher Dan Rohlfing on his way back to the mound after facing his third batter, then a trainer came out to join the conversation. Baker remained in the dugout for the rest of the inning after leaving the game, then eventually went back to the clubhouse.

Baker was placed on the disabled list on Wednesday, retroactive to March 27, due to a bout with elbow tendonitis that slowed his progress this spring. He was scheduled to throw around 75 pitches on Thursday, and the plan was for him to make at least one more minor league start next week.

Baker's recent elbow problems date back to 2010 when he missed nearly three weeks in September with discomfort. He underwent minor clean-up surgery that offseason, then missed more time in 2011 due to more elbow inflammation -- 17 days beginning in early July, and 42 days beginning in early August.

In his three outings prior to Thursday, Baker's fastball sat mostly between 85 and 87 miles per hour, sometimes ramping up to 88 or 89. His average fastball last season was 91 miles per hour, sometimes ramping up toward the mid-90's.

After a 60-pitch outing against the Red Sox on Saturday, Baker said he was "letting it rip" and added, "I definitely felt like the ball had more life today."

Ryan watched Baker's start closely on Saturday.

"It's pretty much up to him right now," Ryan told 1500 ESPN earlier this week. "His comfort level, his mental approach and those types of things. There's not much pain if any now, it's just a matter of him cutting the ball loose and having confidence in his ability to cut it loose.

"I think we'll see that closer to the month of April here than beyond. I didn't see anything where anything surprised me or I wasn't disappointed over there at Boston the other day (when Baker threw four innings against the Red Sox Triple-A affiliate), but he's still throwing the ball somewhere in the 85-to-88 miles an hour range and he's got more in there than that and that's what we need to see."

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
In this story: Scott Baker
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