03/31/12 5:41 PM ET
Baker dealing with elbow tendinitis, lands on DL
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
Baker took a step forward with a solid outing against the Red Sox's Triple-A club Saturday morning -- allowing one run on four hits over four innings while throwing 60 pitches -- but he simply has too much catching up to do to be ready for the season.
"His pitches were a little more crisp, but there's still some work to do there, so we're going to DL him," Ryan said. "We'll see what he feels like tomorrow. If all's well and he's OK and he can throw his bullpen [session], then we'll probably throw him out there Thursday."
Baker is expected to start in Class A Fort Myers' first game of the season on Thursday, and he will be eligible to return from the disabled list on April 11. The Twins don't need a fifth starter until April 15 because of an off-day on April 10.
Baker said after his start against Triple-A Pawtucket that he's making progress with his elbow, but he just needs more time to get it fully healed.
"I'm letting it rip, but is my arm 100 percent or in midseason form? No," Baker said. "I'm definitely confident it will get there, but it just might take a little bit of building up the pitch count."
Ryan also indicated that right-hander Jason Marquis isn't likely to be ready to open the season. He's been tending to his 7-year-old daughter who was seriously injured a bicycle accident last week.
Marquis is expected to return to Fort Myers soon, but he is a candidate to start the year on the bereavement list, which means he'd be out for a minimum of three games and a maximum of seven games.
With Marquis not ready to start the year, right-hander Liam Hendriks is scheduled to start the third game of the season against the Orioles on April 8.
"He's put himself in pretty good position," Ryan said before adding Hendriks could stay in the rotation if he fares well. "Once you give that guy the ball, and they keep getting people out, you keep giving him the ball. You see where it takes us. He may throw so good that you don't have to worry about it."
Right-hander Nick Blackburn is slated to start the home opener against the Angels on April 9, which Baker was originally scheduled to start.
Butera optioned to Minors in latest round of cuts
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins made another round of roster moves Saturday morning, optioning catcher Drew Butera to Triple-A Rochester, sending right-hander Kyle Waldrop to the 15-day disabled list and reassigning infielder Michael Hollimon to Minor League camp.
The big news was the decision to send Butera to Triple-A, which means the Twins will keep just two catchers on their roster -- Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit.
Non-roster invite J.R. Towles is still on the roster, but Butera told reporters that general manager Terry Ryan said the plan is to go with just two catchers.
Butera, 28, saw plenty of action with the Twins over the past two seasons as a backup catcher, but he struggled to hit big league pitching, batting just .178 with 21 extra-base hits in 376 at-bats. He'll split time at catcher with Rene Rivera in Rochester.
"We need more offense out of Butera," Ryan said. "He has to earn at-bats. You know Rivera's down there; he's no slouch. We make guys earn their keep, that's all. He's very gifted. He's got a powerful arm, he works well with pitchers, but we've got to get some offense. We had trouble scoring last year; we can't do that again. We need to score runs."
Butera's demotion bodes well for non-roster invite Sean Burroughs, who is now likely to make the club as a backup infielder.
Waldrop, meanwhile, was placed on the DL, retroactive to Monday, with a right elbow strain. Eligible to return on April 10, Waldrop was a likely candidate to make the club before the injury, as he posted a 1.50 ERA in six Grapefruit League outings.
Hollimon had a nice spring at the plate, hitting .360 in 25 at-bats, but he also made some mistakes in the field. He'll add depth at Triple-A, where he could start at third base.
The Twins now have 31 active players in camp, including 15 pitchers (two non-roster), three catchers (one non-roster), eight infielders (two non-roster) and five outfielders (one non-roster).
Parmelee likely to be on Opening Day roster
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Although he wouldn't officially confirm it, manager Ron Gardenhire said it's a safe bet that Chris Parmelee will be on the Twins' Opening Day roster.
Parmelee, 24, is hitting .288 with four homers, two doubles and a triple in 20 games this spring. It's been a continuation of Parmelee's impressive 21-game stretch as a September callup last season, when he hit .355 with four homers.
"I think it's safe to say there's a high probability that Mr. Parmelee will be on my roster," Gardenhire said. "I think he's swinging really good. I think I can play him at first base or outfield. I like the way he goes about it. I think he makes our lineup very deep if he's batting eighth, so that's kind of fun."
Gardenhire, however, said he's yet to inform Parmelee off anything official about his roster status. The Twins still haven't officially announced whether Justin Morneau will start out the year at designated hitter, but with Parmelee set to make the club, it's nearly a lock.
Gardenhire sets rotation; Swarzak joins bullpen
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Manager Ron Gardenhire announced his starting rotation after Saturday's 15-3 victory vs. the Pirates, as Carl Pavano will be followed by Francisco Liriano, Liam Hendriks and Nick Blackburn to open the season.
The Twins are opting to go with a four-man rotation, because they have an off-day on April 10. Blackburn will get the start in the home opener against the Angels on April 9, with Pavano starting on April 11 after the day off.
The news came after Gardenhire said that right-hander Anthony Swarzak will start the year in the bullpen as a long reliever with the chance to serve as a spot starter if necessary.
"If we need that starter later, we'll use Swarzy," Gardenhire said. "We haven't told him. We wanted him to get stretched out, but he's so valuable in both aspects, because he can come out of that 'pen and really save the rest of your bullpen, and he can stretch out and start. And as you saw today, he's got really good stuff."
Swarzak tossed six strong innings against the Pirates on Saturday, allowing just one run on six hits. He also struck out six and walked none.
Swarzak said after his outing that he's grateful to be on the roster, as it's his first time breaking camp with the club.
"It's been a long road for me," said Swarzak, who was the club's second-round pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. "I've been through some up and downs. I've been at it a while, so it's exciting to finally break with the club."
MRI reveals inflammation in Casilla's right knee
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla could rejoin the lineup as early as Sunday, as his MRI exam on the back of his right knee revealed only inflammation.
Casilla initially felt tightness before Thursday's game against the Pirates, and he had an MRI exam as a precaution. But the Twins were relieved that it's only a minor injury.
"He's day to day," said general manager Terry Ryan. "He just had a little inflammation in that bursa sac, but he's all right."