BALTIMORE -- After last year's disappointing season that saw the Twins lose 99 games, the club experienced plenty of roster turnover, as evidenced by the fact that 14 of the club's 25 players are celebrating their first Opening Day with the Twins.
It's a combination of new additions such as Ryan Doumit, Josh Willingham, Jamey Carroll, Sean Burroughs, Matt Maloney, Jeff Gray and Jared Burton, along with younger players who are experiencing their first Opening Days, like Chris Parmelee, Ben Revere, Trevor Plouffe, Luke Hughes, Anthony Swarzak, Alex Burnett and Liam Hendriks.
Of that group, only Parmelee and Hendriks qualify as rookies, and both were thrilled to participate in their first Opening Day.
Parmelee started at first base and batted eighth, while Hendriks is scheduled to start against the Orioles on Sunday.
"It's awesome," Parmelee said. "It's one of those things where it's an honor. It's Opening Day. It's what we all live for. In the offseason, we all look forward to Opening Day, so it's pretty special."
Parmelee, 24, built on his impressive numbers as a September callup with a solid spring, and will be the club's starter at first base with Justin Morneau serving as designated hitter.
"Parmelee was a great story," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He came up and played well last year, and with the situation with Morneau, he didn't make the club by default, he earned it. He saved us because with Morneau DHing, we'd be scuffling to find a first baseman."
Hendriks, 23, is getting the chance to open the year in the rotation, as right-handers Scott Baker (elbow) and Jason Marquis (family matter) weren't ready to start the season.
"It's pretty exciting," Hendriks said. "I was pretty excited when I found out. I feel like I had a pretty good spring, but I came into spring not even thinking about making the club. But it's always nice, so hopefully I'll be able to take advantage of it."
Gardenhire begins 10th season as manager
BALTIMORE -- While the Orioles celebrated the 20th anniversary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Friday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire celebrated an anniversary of his own.
Minnesota's Opening Day tilt against Baltimore marked Gardenhire's 10th season as manager after he took over from Tom Kelly before the 2002 season.
Gardenhire became manager amid turmoil, as contraction threatened the Twins that offseason, but ultimately they played the season and ended up advancing to the American League Championship Series, where they lost to the Angels in five games.
"We talked about that a few times," Gardenhire said about the rumors of contraction that offseason. "More so than anything else, was the wait after I interviewed for the job. The wait in between being interviewed and not knowing whether I'd be a manager or even have a job. It was pretty entertaining.
"But the coaching staff, we couldn't start looking for another job because we were still with the Twins. I was interviewed for the manager's job, so I had to sit back and wait. Terry [Ryan] kind of saved the day for myself and the organization by saying he was staying and that we'd go about business as normal to prepare for a season. That was huge. So he gave me this opportunity, and it's been a fun time."
Under Gardenhire, the second-longest tenured manager in baseball behind the Angels' Mike Scioscia, the Twins have won the AL Central six times. But Gardenhire says he never looks back at what he's accomplished as manager.
"I don't," Gardenhire said. "I just go day by day and year by year. I enjoy what I'm doing, I enjoy the organization and I enjoy where I live. Everybody in baseball knows you're always fortunate to stay in baseball with the longevity I've had here along with my coaching staff. It's not the norm. I'm blessed, to say the least. As far as judging, we've had some success, some years that haven't gone as well, and we haven't won a World Series and that's always the goal. So we haven't finished the job yet."
Baker to get second opinion on right elbow
BALTIMORE -- Twins right-hander Scott Baker underwent an MRI exam on his right elbow on Friday, a day after exiting his rehab outing with Class A Advanced Fort Myers after throwing just 11 pitches.
In a statement, Twins general manager Terry Ryan revealed the MRI results.
"Structurally, the MRI on Scott Baker's right elbow was very similar to the previous MRI he had in July of 2011," Ryan said. "Baker will see Dr. David Altchek in New York next week for a second opinion."
Baker, who is on the disabled list retroactive to March 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."
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, who averaged 91 mph last year according to FanGraphs, 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."