Duensing gets another shot at the Yankees

Left-hander Brian Duensing, who will make his first start of the season tonight against the Yankees, seemed excited but loose when talking to reporters Monday.

He joked about how he hasn’t pitched in a game since March 26, so in a recent bullpen session he had pitching coach Rick Anderson stand in at the plate to simulate pitching to a hitter. But one pitch, however, didn’t exactly go where he wanted it, as he nearly hit Anderson in the head with an errant fastball.

“I almost killed him,” Duening said with a laugh. “It was a fastball about head-high. I almost dropped it coming back, and instead of stopping my motion, I continued with it. He was already backing up, thank goodness. The next pitch was the hardest thing I had to do after throwing a pitch like that. I was in between laughing, crying and sweating all at the same time. It was bad.”

Duensing is hoping he’ll have better control when he faces the Yankees at new Yankee Stadium, a place he hasn’t exactly had great results at in the past. He’s only made two starts here, but they came in the postseason, and are two games he’d rather forget. Duensing allowed a combined 10 runs over eight innings in two defeats, including a Game 3 loss in last year’s ALDS that knocked the Twins out of the playoffs.

“I’d like to have a good outing so that I’ll like coming here,” Duensing said. “Right now, I don’t like it at all. But it’s a new year so we’ll see how it happens. You know my policy. Expect the worst, so that if it happens, you don’t get surprised by it.”

The Twins certainly hope Duensing isn’t at his worst, as they’re facing Yankees ace CC Sabathia, who has a career 3.05 ERA with 143 strikeouts and 62 walks over 191 2/3 innings against the Twins.

The Twins will also be without first baseman Justin Morneau, who is getting his first day off of the season with Michael Cuddyer getting the start at first. Jason Repko will also make his first start of the season in right field.

Lineups for the 6:05 p.m. CT start at Yankee Stadium:

Twins

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

LHP Brian Duensing (first start)

Yankees

1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Nick Swisher, RF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6. Jorge Posada, DH
7. Russell Martin, C
8. Andruw Jones, LF
9. Curtis Granderson, CF

LHP CC Sabatha (0-0, 3.00 ERA, 3.50 K/BB, 1.67 FIP)

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