Baker exits start early with groin strain
Twins right-hander tosses three scoreless frames before leaving
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins starter Scott Baker left Saturday night's game against the Tigers after only three innings with a minor re-aggravation of a right groin strain.
Baker seemed to be going along just fine before his early exit. He threw 43 pitches over three innings, 30 of them for strikes. He allowed just one hit and struck out two.
But it was on the last pitch of the final at-bat of the third inning -- a 90-mph fastball that Curtis Granderson grounded to second base for an out -- that Baker said he felt pain.
"I just kind of tweaked it a little bit again," Baker said. "It was to the point where I contemplated whether to say something or not, but I thought better of it and figured I better say something and not get it to the point it was last time."
This was Baker's first start after leaving his April 26 outing against the Rangers after 4 1/3 innings. During that game, Baker said he slipped on the mound while making a breaking pitch, tweaking his right groin.
Baker said the pain was not as sharp as what he felt in Texas, but pitching coach Rick Anderson and acting manager Scott Ullger thought he should come out nonetheless.
"It's just something that's in there," Baker said. "I know it's in there, and if I were to continue to throw out there, it's not going to get better. I'm just trying to be as cautious as possible. It's a day-to-day thing."
The Twins described his removal as a precautionary measure and said they would re-evaluate Baker on Sunday morning.
Anderson declined to discuss Baker's injury after Saturday's game, but before the game said that he didn't anticipate Baker having any more trouble with the injury.
"[Baker] knows, he understand the reprecussions. We've told him, 'You do it again, you understand it's going to be a lot longer. So we've got to be 110 percent sure that this is it,'" Anderson said. "He assured us the other day. He came in. He felt great. He threw a pen and said he felt nothing. He came in [Friday] feeling good."
Leslie Parker is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.