03/12/07 6:30 PM ET
Notes: Race for Twins' rotation heats up
Garza's velocity is back up; Ford has successful surgery
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
"I said from that start that it's going to be a dog fight," Garza said of the starting race on Monday. "We just have to keep going out and do our jobs and things are going to fall into place."Bye, bye pain: Garza's first outing on the mound since his neck pain was alleviated included a mix of good and bad on Monday. The pitcher missed with a few pitches and walked the first two batters he faced in his second inning of work, but overall Gardenhire and the staff raved about Garza's velocity returning and felt that it was a good first step back. Garza echoed their feelings in his assessment. "It was the first time I was able to feel normal on the mound," Garza said. "I was able to turn it up a lot today. I think I turned it up a little too much and got a little out of control a little. But I was able to regroup and figure out the problem, so that was a good sign." Over and over again: First baseman/DH Ken Harvey returned to the Twins lineup Monday for the first time since he pulled a chest muscle in the first Grapefruit League game on Feb. 28. But it didn't take long for Harvey to re-aggravate the injury that he suffered during his very first swing in a spring game. Harvey had two at-bats against the Marlins and even recorded a two-run double in the second inning. Still, he felt something in the muscle. Gardenhire said Harvey is going to try to play through the injury, since there's not much that can be done for it. "It's been beyond frustrating," Harvey said of his injury troubles. "I never really had any injuries up until last year, and then it's been one after another. It's tough. It just humbles you. But you have to just keep on battling through it." Round one: The Twins made their first set of cuts this spring on Monday morning. The club optioned left-hander Ricky Barrett to Triple-A Rochester, right-hander Oswaldo Sosa to Double-A left-hander Alexander Smit to Class A Fort Myers. The Twins also reassigned pitcher Brad Voyles, catchers Jeff Christy, Korey Feiner and Jose Morales and infielder Gil Velazquez to Minor League camp. The team now has 51 players in camp. Gardenhire said that more cuts likely will be coming as he wants to reduce the number of pitchers in camp, with fewer opportunities now available to see time on the mound. "They need to pitch and build arm strength up," Gardenhire said. "With all these starters we're looking at, we don't have enough innings right now." Clean bill: Lew Ford's surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee was completed successfully Monday morning. Ford is expected to be back with the Twins on Tuesday and Gardenhire reiterated that the club feels Ford's return time will be close to four weeks rather than six. Coming up: The Twins will host the defending World Series champion Cardinals at Hammond Stadium in a 12:05 p.m. CT contest Tuesday. Santana will get the start as he faces off against another lefty, Randy Keisler.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.