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Updated: March 31st, 2011 6:07pm
Twins Daily: Toronto starter Ricky Romero coming off rocky spring

Twins Daily: Toronto starter Ricky Romero coming off rocky spring

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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The Minnesota Twins were off on Thursday. The regular season begins on Friday at Toronto (6:07 p.m., 1500 ESPN).

The skinny

As expected, the Twins settled on a roster including 12 pitchers (five left-handers) and 13 position players.

Pitchers
30 Scott Baker R-R (6-4, 215) Age 29
53 Nick Blackburn R-R (6-4, 240) Age 29
55 Matt Capps R-R (6-2, 245) Age 27
52 Brian Duensing L-L (6-0, 205) Age 28
56 Dusty Hughes L-L (5-10, 185) Age 28
47 Francisco Liriano L-L (6-2, 215) Age 27
49 Jeff Manship R-R (6-2, 210) Age 26
50 Jose Mijares L-L (6-0, 230) Age 26
36 Joe Nathan R-R (6-4, 225) Age 36
48 Carl Pavano R-R (6-5, 250) Age 35
15 Glen Perkins L-L (6-0, 210) Age 28
59 Kevin Slowey R-R (6-3, 205) Age 26

Catchers
41 Drew Butera R-R (6-1, 195) Age 27
7 Joe Mauer L-R (6-5, 235) Age 27

Infielders
12 Alexi Casilla S-R (5-9, 185) Age 26
33 Justin Morneau L-R (6-4, 235) Age 29
1 Tsuyoshi Nishioka S-R (6-1, 175) Age 26
20 Matt Tolbert S-R (6-0, 185) Age 28
19 Danny Valencia R-R (6-2, 220) Age 26

Outfielders
5 Michael Cuddyer R-R (6-2, 220) Age 32
16 Jason Kubel L-R (6-0, 220) Age 28
18 Jason Repko R-R (5-11, 200) Age 30
2 Denard Span L-L (6-0, 210) Age 27
21 Delmon Young R-R (6-3, 200) Age 25

Designated Hitter
25 Jim Thome L-R (6-3, 250) Age 40

Numbers game

90½: Average regular-season wins for the Twins while winning the past two American League Central Division titles. They needed 163 games to edge the Detroit Tigers with an 87-76 record in 2009, then went 94-68 to run away with the title by six games over the Chicago White Sox.

83: Wins projected for the Twins this season -- one more than the White Sox and Tigers for the most in the division -- according to Baseball Prospectus. No other division has a projected champion with fewer than 85 victories.

0: Games the Twins will play against the White Sox and Tigers in April -- the first time they haven't seen either team in the season's first month during manager Ron Gardenhire's 10 seasons.

18: Games the Twins will play in April against AL East teams, beginning with a three-game series at Toronto and then four at Yankee Stadium.

Health watch

No significant injury concerns.

On deck

As expected, Pavano will start the opener after going 17-11 last season with a 3.75 earned-run average and seven complete games. The Twins' veteran right-hander re-signed for two years and $16.5 million in January and had his most effective spring in years, going 2-1 with a 2.16 earned-run average in 25 innings with 14 strikeouts, three walks and a 1.20 WHIP. He last started on Opening Day in 2007 with the New York Yankees.

Left-hander Ricky Romero will start for the Blue Jays despite a rocky spring in which he allowed 17 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings (7.91 ERA), striking out 20 and walking nine while battling inflammation in the middle finger on his pitching hand. Last season, the 26-year-old was 14-9 with a 3.73 ERA in 210 innings. Romero has won both of his career decisions against the Twins, giving up seven earned runs and striking out 11 in 22 2/3 innings.

Gardenhire told reporters his batting order on Friday will be:

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Delmon Young, LF
6. Jason Kubel, DH
7. Michael Cuddyer, RF
8. Danny Valencia, 3B
9. Alexi Casilla, SS

It'll be the first regular-season appearance for Morneau since July 7, when he suffered a concussion at the Rogers Centre while trying to break up a double play.

Coming up

• Saturday: at Toronto, 12:07 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano vs. RHP Kyle Drabek.
• Sunday: at Toronto, 12:07 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn vs. LHP Brett Cecil.
• Monday: at New York Yankees, 6:05 p.m. RHP Scott Baker vs. RHP Ivan Nova.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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