Bullpen picture coming into focus
Perkins optioned; Condrey may be healthy to join team
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With five days remaining before Opening Day, the Twins' roster is continuing to take shape.
The Twins optioned reliever Glen Perkins to Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday, leaving just one outstanding roster decision. If right-hander Clay Condrey can strengthen his weakened shoulder enough to avoid a disabled-list stint, he will fill out the 25-man roster. If not, lefty Ron Mahay will take his place.
The Twins also announced that right-hander Pat Neshek, battling his way back from Tommy John surgery, has made the team.
Condrey, who has not pitched since Sunday with weakness in his right shoulder and right elbow soreness, is currently on a strengthening program. He was originally scheduled to return to game action during this weekend's exhibition games at Target Field. But after showing significant improvement on Wednesday, the Twins opted to have him continue to work in Fort Myers.
Condrey should rejoin the Twins in Anaheim prior to Opening Day. And manager Ron Gardenhire, who was skeptical of Condrey's condition early Wednesday, is now optimistic that he will be ready for the opener.
"I think he's going to be there," Gardenhire said.
On the off chance that Condrey -- a bullpen cog for the Phillies the last four seasons -- cannot go, the Twins will turn to Mahay, a 38-year-old journeyman who spent most of last season with the Royals.
Mijares to pitch through blurred vision
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Left-hander Jose Mijares, a potential replacement for closer Joe Nathan, will attempt to pitch through a case of blurred vision.
Mijares saw an eye doctor on Tuesday, and he may eventually need a procedure to correct his benign condition. But that will not come until after the season. In the interim, Mijares has begun taking eye drops to alleviate his condition, and the Twins will allow him to resume mound activities.
If things fall into place for Mijares this season, he could rack up saves as manager Ron Gardenhire's main left-handed option out of the 'pen. Until the Twins decide on a dedicated closer, Gardenhire will pick and choose based upon matchups and availability. Given his left-handedness, Mijares may receive as many opportunities as anyone.
As a rookie last season, Mijares posted a 2.34 ERA in 71 games, holding opposing batters to a .224 average.
He, Matt Guerrier and Jon Rauch project as the main options in Minnesota's closer-by-committee, though Gardenhire wouldn't say which of them he might turn to first.
"We think we've got plenty of people that can run there at the end," Gardenhire said. "We definitely think those three guys are going to be able to ad-lib and go with it."
Baker readies for regular season
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- This was not what Scott Baker envisioned.
Pitching one final spring game before his Opening Day start in Anaheim on Monday, Baker was shelled for eight runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Rays at Hammond Stadium on Wednesday.
"I feel like the ball's still coming good out of my hand," Baker said. "Obviously, we're not robots. Sometimes you're going to struggle a little bit. That's just part of the game."
After serving up hits to each of the first three batters of the game, Baker appeared to settle down, escaping from that jam with only two runs of damage. But Baker proceeded to allow two more runs in the second inning and four more in the third, tagged for three hits apiece by Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez.
"You can sugarcoat it all you want," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Baker got his work in and he feels good, and he's healthy and he's ready to start the season. We're not taking too much more out of this performance."
Luckily, that's all the Twins needed out of Baker's final spring outing. He and the rest of the team will fly north after Thursday's game against the Red Sox in preparation for next Monday's opener.
And Baker hopes to leave Wednesday's performance behind in Florida.
"I think you're always trying to get better, for sure," he said. "I can't sit here and say that it's going to work out, but I think you do expect more of yourself."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.