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05/10/08 2:07 AM ET

Perkins debuts vs. defending champs

Minnesota (18-16) vs. Boston (23-15), Saturday, 6:10 p.m. CT

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins left-hander Glen Perkins is not unfamiliar with pitching in the big leagues despite the fact that Saturday will mark his first Major League start.

Over the past two seasons, Perkins has seen limited time in a relief role for Minnesota. But while Perkins has experience at this level, his manager still expects the lefty to endure the usual first-start jitters.

"I'm sure he'll be nervous. It's easy to do when you are out on a Major League field," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I just want him to throw the ball over the plate and use all of his pitches."

Following a muscle strain near Perkins' left shoulder that limited him to just 48 total innings last season (both in the Minors and the Majors), the Twins had the left-hander begin the year at Triple-A Rochester to build up his arm strength and give him more innings. It was also an attempt for the left-hander to try to find more consistency with all of his pitches, something he struggled with during Spring Training.

Gardenhire said that the reports out of Rochester were that the left-hander did regain some of his old form. In seven appearances (six starts) for the Red Wings, Perkins was 2-1 with a 2.97 ERA.

"We'll have to see where he's at after a couple of outings here," Gardenhire said. "Hopefully he'll do just like he's been doing. He's had some good outings down there. The hope is that he will continue that up here and give us an opportunity to win."

And when he takes the mound against the Red Sox on Saturday, Perkins will be just the third lefty to start for the Twins since the beginning of the 2006 season. The last left-hander to start for the club, other than Johan Santana and Francisco Liriano, was Dave Gassner who made two starts in April 2005.

But while having a southpaw back in the rotation is an added bonus, Gardenhire reiterated that it's not a necessity. The skipper made it clear that if Perkins is to remain in the rotation, it will require him to earn that spot.

"It's not a bad situation if you have a solid lefty out there," Gardenhire said. "But just to have a left-hander, that's not what we look for. We look to have the best five pitchers out there. And right now, he's throwing the best out there."

Pitching matchup
MIN: LHP Glen Perkins (0-0, -.-- ERA)
Following the move to put Scott Baker on the disabled list with a strained right groin muscle, the Twins called up Perkins to fill Baker's rotation spot. Perkins pitched only 28 2/3 innings in the Majors last season after being sidelined with a muscle strain near his left shoulder.

BOS: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (5-0, 2.43 ERA)
Matsuzaka did not have his best control in his last start. He allowed just two hits and one earned run in five innings, but he set a new career high with eight walks. He worked out of four two-on jams, not allowing Detroit to put a runner on third base. Matsuzaka has only faced Minnesota once in his short MLB career, but he gave up two runs on six hits in eight innings.

In honor of Carlos Gomez becoming the eighth player in club history to hit for the cycle on Wednesday night in Chicago, the Twins selected one young fan at Friday night's game to receive a brand new bicycle. ... Adam Everett went 2-for-3 with two doubles and a walk on Friday night. Four of Everett's nine hits this season have been doubles. ... Joe Mauer has hit safely in 17 of his last 18 games, batting .409 with seven doubles and 14 runs scored over that span.

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Up next
• Sunday: Twins (Nick Blackburn, 2-2, 3.65) vs. Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 3-1, 3.33), 7:05 p.m. CT
• Monday: Twins (Livan Hernandez, 5-1, 3.83) vs. Red Sox (Clay Buchholz, 2-2, 4.50), 6:05 p.m. CT
• Tuesday: Twins (Kevin Slowey, 0-2, 6.48) vs. Blue Jays (TBD), 7:10 p.m. CT

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.