April 2012

Hendriks out with food poisoning, Swarzak to start

BALTIMORE — Twins rookie right-hander Liam Hendriks is in the hospital because of food poisoning, and will miss his scheduled start against the Orioles on Sunday.

Right-hander Anthony Swarzak, who was stretched out to six innings during Spring Training, will start in place of Hendriks.

Hendriks took part in Friday’s Opening Day ceremonies but felt sick later that night, and was admitted to the hospital this morning and will be kept there until Sunday morning.

“It is amazing,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan said with a hint of disbelief. “Everything was fine until he got back home. I guess last night he went in. I don’t know what he had but he’s still in the hospital. He’ll get out tomorrow morning. It’s too bad because the kid did a wonderful job for us this spring. But it shouldn’t take too long to get him back out there.”

Hendriks, 23, posted a 1.80 ERA during Spring Training, and was slated to start with right-handers Scott Baker (elbow) and Jason Marquis (family matter) unavailable to open the season.

But instead the Twins will turn to Swarzak, who also fared well in spring with a 2.93 ERA and was stretched out to be a long reliever or spot starter.

“I was preparing to be a starter for weeks in Spring Training, and was put in a situation where if they need a spot start, I’d be ready to go,” Swarzak said. “It’s unfortunate for Liam to be in the situation he’s in. I hope he gets better as soon as possible because he’s a pretty good pitcher and in the big picture we need as many good pitchers on the staff as we can get.”

Game 2: Twins lineup vs. Orioles

BALTIMORE — After the Twins’ 4-2 Opening Day loss yesterday, manager Ron Gardenhire has a new lineup for the second game of the season.

Ryan Doumit, who started in right field, is being replaced by Ben Revere, who is starting in right and batting eighth.

Doumit is likely getting the day off because he’ll catch tomorrow to give Joe Mauer a rest, as it’s a day game after a night game.

Revere should also greatly improve the outfield defense, considering Doumit had trouble with a fly ball to deep right field yesterday that ended up being an RBI triple off the bat of Nick Markakis.

It’ll also be interesting to see how left-hander Francisco Liriano fares, as he’s coming off a huge spring that saw him post a 2.33 ERA with 33 strikeouts compared to just five walks over 27 innings.

If the Twins are to rebound from last year, they’re going to need a huge season from Liriano, who has great stuff but has trouble harnessing it as evidenced by his 5.09 ERA a year ago.

We’ll also hopefully get an update on Scott Baker today, as his MRI exam showed nothing new from the one that was taken back in July of last year. He was diagnosed with a slight flexor muscle strain after the initial MRI exam last year. He’s slated to get a second opinion for Dr. David Altchek in New York next week.

Twins (0-1)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Josh Willingham, LF
6. Chris Parmelee, 1B
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Ben Revere, RF
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

LHP Francisco Liriano

Orioles (1-0)
1. Nolan Reimold, LF
2. J.J. Hardy, SS
3. Nick Markakis, RF
4. Adam Jones, CF
5. Matt Wieters, C
6. Mark Reynolds, 3B
7. Nick Johnson, 1B
8. Ronny Paulino, DH
9. Robert Andino, 2B

RHP Tommy Hunter

Baker has an MRI on right elbow

BALTIMORE — Twins right-hander Scott Baker underwent an MRI exam on his right elbow today, a day after exiting his rehab outing with Class A Advanced Fort Myers after throwing just 11 pitches.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan said he expects to get the results later today, so stay tuned.

Baker, who is on the disabled list retroactive to Mark 27 with right elbow tendinitis, was scheduled to throw 75 pitches, but couldn’t get loose during his outing and was removed after facing just three batters.

“He didn’t feel right,” Ryan said. “When they took him out it was just because he couldn’t seem to get loose. That’s fine. So we’re going to get him an MRI to make sure.”

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he was concerned about Baker’s ability to adjust, as he had troubles on the mound after a delay due to the Opening Day ceremonies in Port Charlotte, Fla.

Baker was reportedly throwing just 80-84 mph during his outing before he was taken out with just one out in the first inning.

“Not being able to make adjustments because of your arm really bothers me,” Gardenhire said. “They had a little delay, had to sit back and wait a little bit, but not being able to in the heat, the whole package, that bothers me. He just didn’t feel right. That bothers me.”

Opening Day is finally here

BALTIMORE — It’s the favorite day of the year for baseball fans: Opening Day.

And it couldn’t come any sooner for the Twins, who are looking to move past last year’s disastrous season that saw them finish last in the American League with 99 losses.

But the Twins have reason for optimism, as they enter the season mostly healthy. Spring Training couldn’t have gone much better for Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Denard Span, as all three stayed healthy throughout and produced at the plate.

Morneau, though, is starting the year at designated hitter, and there’s still no timetable for when he’ll return to playing first base.

So for now, rookie Chris Parmelee will be the regular first baseman moving forward, and is one of four new faces in the lineup today, joining Jamey Carroll, Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit

The Twins are set to face Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta, who is making his first Opening Day start. Right-hander Carl Pavano gets the nod for the Twins, and is making his third career Opening Day start and his second with Minnesota.

Check back for more updates throughout the day.

Twins
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Josh Willingham, LF
6. Ryan Doumit, RF
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Chris Parmelee, 1B
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

RHP Carl Pavano

Orioles
1. Noland Reimold, LF
2. J.J. Hardy, SS
3. Nick Markakis, RF
4. Adam Jones, CF
5. Matt Wieters, C
6. Wilson Betemit, DH
7. Mark Reynolds, 3B
8. Chris Davis, 1B
9. Robert Andino, 2B

RHP Jake Arrieta

Twins announce Opening Day lineup

BALTIMORE — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire announced his lineup for Opening Day against the Orioles tomorrow at Camden Yards.

There were no surprises, but Ryan Doumit will be starting in right field over Trevor Plouffe, as Plouffe is starting the year in a super utility role.

And Justin Morneau will start the year as designated hitter with rookie Chris Parmelee getting his first Opening Day start at first base.

Gardenhire also said his two main setup relievers will be left-hander Glen Perkins and right-hander Jared Burton. He also mentioned left-handers Brian Duensing and Matt Maloney as the two guys he’d look to first if he needs a reliever in the middle innings.

More to come in today’s notebook. But here’s the lineup:

Twins:
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Josh Willingham, LF
6. Ryan Doumit, RF
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Chris Parmelee, 1B
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

RHP Carl Pavano

Morneau to open season at DH

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Justin Morneau has yet to sit down with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to talk about his role this season, but he confirmed this morning that he plans on starting the year as designated hitter.

Morneau, who hasn’t played first base since March 13, said he’s preparing to open the season at DH with Chris Parmelee starting at first base.

“The way it’s looking, with Parmelee making the team as a first baseman, I think it’s looking more toward DH than first base,” Morneau said. “It isn’t necessarily something that I want to do but it’s better in the long run in terms of being healthy and available to play every day. That’s the biggest thing right now. We’ll revisit it later in the season and see how everything has recovered, with all the various things I’ve been through.”

Morneau, though, said he doesn’t wanted to be locked into DH duties, as he hopes it’s only a temporary solution until he’s ready to play first base again.

“I feel relatively young in this game so I don’t plan on DHing for the rest of my career,” Morneau said. “I want to get back to playing first. Hopefully this is just the first step in that process.”

Morneau, 30, played in just 69 games last year after battling concussion symptoms and undergoing surgeries on his neck, left wrist, left knee and right foot. But he’s been healthy this spring, hitting .246 with three homers and four doubles in 18 games. He’s also batting .590 over his last seven games.

Game 33: Twins lineup vs. Rays

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — The Twins play the Rays today to mark the eighth Grapefruit League meeting between the two clubs with one more to go tomorrow. Minnesota already won the series, as it enters today’s game with a 5-2 advantage over Tampa Bay.

Catcher Joe Mauer isn’t on the trip, as he’s scheduled to get at-bats in a Minor League game back in Fort Myers. Outfielder Trevor Plouffe is also playing in a Minor League game as well.

Right-hander Jason Marquis is also set to return to Fort Myers tomorrow after being back home tending to his 7-year-old daughter who was in a serious bicycle accident. Marquis will throw a bullpen tomorrow and will be evaluated by pitching coach Rick Anderson, but is still expected to start the year on the bereavement list.

Right-hander Scott Baker is also on track to start on Thursday for Class-A Advanced Fort Myers in Port Charlotte. He’ll still open the season on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to March 27, with elbow tendinitis.

Second baseman Alexi Casilla also received an anti-inflammatory shot in the back of his right knee. He’s taking today off but should be back on the field working out tomorrow. He’s expected to be ready for Opening Day on Friday in Baltimore.

Twins (18-14)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Ryan Doumit, C
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Josh Willingham, LF
6. Sean Burroughs, 1B
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Luke Hughes, 2B
9. Lance Ray, RF

LHP Francisco Liriano

Rays (9-16)
1. Desmond Jennings, CF
2. Luke Scott, DH
3. Evan Longoria, 3B
4. Ben Zobrist, RF
5. Carlos Pena, 1B
6. Jeff Keppinger, 2B
7. Jose Molina, C
8. Jeff Salazar, LF
9. Sean Rodriguez, SS

LHP David Price

Twins essentially set 25-man roster

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The essentially set their 25-man roster this morning, reassigning right-handed pitcher Casey Fien, catcher J.R. Towles, infielder Brian Dozier and outfielder Brian Dinkelman to Minor League camp.

The Twins now have 27 players in camp, including right-hander Scott Baker who will be placed on the 15-day disabled list to open the season, and right-hander Jason Marquis who will likely start the season on the bereavement list.

None of the cuts came as a surprise, as the Twins were expected to carry 12 pitchers even though they’re set to start the season with just four starting pitchers — Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Liam Hendriks and Nick Blackburn.

Two non-roster players made the club, infielder Sean Burroughs and reliever Jared Burton, and will take the two open 40-man roster spots left by the departures of Terry Doyle and Joel Zumaya.

Here’s the roster:

Rotation: Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano (L), Liam Hendriks, Nick Blackburn

Relievers: Matt Capps (CL), Glen Perkins (L), Brian Duensing (L), Matt Maloney (L), Anthony Swarzak, Jared Burton, Alex Burnett, Jeff Gray

Catchers: Joe Mauer, Ryan Doumit

Infielders: Justin Morneau, Alexi Casilla, Jamey Carroll, Danny Valencia, Luke Hughes, Chris Parmelee, Sean Burroughs

Outfielders: Josh Willingham, Denard Span, Ben Revere, Trevor Plouffe

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