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Updated: March 17th, 2012 9:44am
Scott Baker throws bullpen at '80 percent,' but true test lies ahead

Scott Baker throws bullpen at '80 percent,' but true test lies ahead

by Phil Mackey
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Minnesota Twins right-hander Scott Baker threw a 37-pitch bullpen session on Saturday and gave two thumbs up immediately after -- a good sign, but the true tests for his tender right elbow still lie ahead.

Baker's bullpen session included a mix of fastballs, breaking balls and changeups, but he was throwing at only "about 75 or 80 percent."

"I think, really, today was more of just getting the feel of the (mound)," Baker said. "It's just the next progression, in my opinion, just because the slope just adds another element that is a little tougher on the elbow. So that was the whole reason for doing that. ... I don't foresee any soreness (on Sunday), just because the effort wasn't -- it was right where I wanted it to be. ...

"So Monday will be more of a max effort bullpen. So as long as I recover tomorrow, then that's what we'll do."

Baker experienced elbow inflammation (or tendonitis) after his start on March 10, so the Twins backed him off from throwing bullpens all week. If all goes well in his bullpen session on Monday, the earliest he would make his next start is likely Thursday, March 25, which puts Baker in a race against time to be ready for the start of the regular season.

Baker said his current treatment consists of "ice and compression, different modalities. I think the biggest thing with any kind of tendonitis or something like that would be to make sure it's just getting really loose and really warm. Do ultrasound, obviously you're heating it up. At this point after, it's just trying to move the inflammation as quickly as you can."

He added, "It's a process. I wish there was a magic potion that would make it just completely go away. That's not how it works. It's a gradual process. As long as you're able to complete the next step without it getting worse, that's what you do."

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