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PUR@DOM: Deduno strikes out five in scoreless start

An offseason injury delayed his arrival, but Samuel Deduno is set to rejoin the Twins' rotation.

Deduno, who was scheduled to start for Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday, instead will start against the Detroit Tigers on Friday night at Comerica Park.

The 29-year-old right-hander started 15 games for the Twins last season, recording a 4.44 ERA with 57 strikeouts and 53 walks in 79 innings, but he injured his groin playing for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic and started the season on the disabled list.

"He's been throwing good," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Wednesday. "We saw him for the [World Baseball Classic] games and he got hurt, but he's back out there striking people out. You're going to get a guy who puts some fear in people's hearts. He can wing it and snap off some stuff. I don't think he's afraid of going against the big boys in Detroit."

Fear or no fear, Deduno will have his hands full with the explosive Tigers offense.

The defending American League champion Tigers are tops in the league in batting average, with reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera hitting an MLB-best .391.

"You definitely don't want to pitch to the middle of the plate," Gardenhire said. "But it doesn't seem to matter with the guy. He can hit it anywhere. He makes adjustments as well as anybody. They've got a great lineup over there. It seems like the more people you put on base, the more they score. And with [Prince] Fielder behind him, he's a great hitter, too. But you tell yourself not to let this guy beat you. But he still gets you."

While most of the Tigers' lineup is hitting among the best in the league, catcher Alex Avila is still looking for a spark to lead him out of a season-long slump. Avila is 1-for-21 over his last seven games.

"I don't know what I'm going to end up with at the end of the season as far as my statistics, but one thing I can control is to do whatever I can to help the team win and keep trying to put consistent at-bats together," Avila said. "Whatever I end up with statistically, it is what it is. I can't be concerned with what I'm going to be hitting, or how many home runs and RBIs I'm going to have. I'm just trying to keep it simple."

Twins: Arcia expected back in lineup Friday
After four straight games on the bench, rookie outfielder Oswaldo Arcia is expected to return to the lineup Friday against the Tigers.

Gardenhire said with Justin Morneau starting at designated hitter Thursday, Chris Parmelee was bumped over to first base and that he wanted to take advantage of right fielder Ryan Doumit's recent success at the plate. Gardenhire added that the lack of a DH in Atlanta was the main reason Arcia was the odd man out in the three-game series.

"I understand that a young guy like that shouldn't sit very long," Gardenhire said. "But we also just had National League baseball, which didn't bode well for us. But we need to play everybody and he's one of them. I want to get him in there."

Tigers: Sanchez back on the mound after stumbling against Rangers
Anibal Sanchez will take the mound for his first start after being tagged for six runs on nine hits in just 2 2/3 innings against the Rangers on Saturday. The 7-2 loss was the third-shortest start of his career.

"I didn't have good command; that was the problem," Sanchez said after the loss. "My fastball was up. My changeup didn't move too much. My breaking ball, I threw it for strikes, but it wasn't in the right locations. It was just a bad outing. That's part of the game."

Sanchez is 0-2 with a 3.57 ERA in four career starts against Minnesota. He had logged seven quality starts before struggling against the Rangers.

Worth noting
• Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter said he plans to follow Dodgers All-Star Matt Kemp in making a donation to tornado relief in Moore, Okla. Hunter grew up in Pine Bluff, Ark., near Oklahoma.

• Twins outfielder Darin Mastroianni is expected to be out six weeks after undergoing successful surgery on his left ankle Wednesday. Mastroianni had a bone chip in his ankle repaired, an injury he sustained in Spring Training after taking a foul ball off his ankle and then aggravated it while running early this season. Comments