2/22/2013 2:15 P.M. ET
Correia hopes to bring durability, stability to rotation
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Part of a pitching staff that's filled with players coming off injury, veteran right-hander Kevin Correia hopes to bring his durability to the Twins.
Correia is the one of the few starters in camp who hasn't had an operation recently. Mike Pelfrey and Kyle Gibson are both coming back from Tommy John surgery, and Scott Diamond, Vance Worley and Liam Hendriks all had bone chips removed from their elbows this offseason.
Correia has made at least 26 starts in each of the last four seasons -- including 28 starts last season with the Pirates -- with a combined 4.51 ERA. In 2012 he posted a 4.21 ERA in 171 innings, including 10 1/3 frames as a reliever at the end of the year after he was moved out of the rotation when Pittsburgh acquired Wandy Rodriguez.
"I hope to throw a lot of innings and win some games," said Correia, who joined the Twins on a two-year, $10 million deal this offseason. "I want to keep us in games and give us an opportunity to win. It's hard to keep a staff with five guys out there the whole season. It rarely happens. I think if we can do that with the guys we brought in, we can have a really good team. I think last year there were a lot of injuries, and that's hard to recover from. So hopefully I'll be out there on a consistent basis."
Correia is set to make his Twins debut in the club's Grapefruit League opener, against the Orioles on Saturday in Sarasota. He's scheduled to make one more start on Feb. 27, against the Phillies, before departing that night for San Diego, where his wife, Diana, is scheduled to give birth to their third child.
He said that leaving camp won't be an issue, as he cleared it with the Twins about a month ago and will throw a bullpen session upon his return, on March 3, before pitching in a game again a few days later.
"I'm only going to be gone a few days, so it won't really be a big deal," he said. "I could see as a younger guy it could get you off track, but with a longer Spring Training, it won't affect me."
Correia is set to throw two innings -- or about 40 pitches -- against the Orioles, and is more worried about how he feels than his results.
"The first time out, hopefully, I'm going to throw a lot of strikes," he said. "I'm going to throw all of my pitches. I'm not going to be going off a scouting report or anything like that. I'm just going to go out there and do what I think I need to do to get ready for the season."
Correia is one of eight pitchers set to make the trip to Sarasota; Shairon Martis, Ryan Pressly, Josh Roenicke, Tim Wood, Anthony Slama, Luis Perdomo and Bryan Augenstein are also on the travel list. Not on the list are Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Trevor Plouffe, Jamey Carroll, Aaron Hicks and Joe Benson.
Manager Ron Gardenhire is looking forward to seeing Correia in action for the first time.
"I just want him to go out and get his work in," Gardenhire said. "He's been there and done it. I don't want him to overthrow. I just want him to work on the process of getting ready."
Correia's goal is to stay healthy this season, as the Twins' rotation dealt with a rash of injuries last year. The team used 12 starters in 2012, and it wasn't a recipe for success, considering the club lost 96 games.
"I don't know if we've seen a team make the playoffs doing that," Correia said. "It's real important to have that core. You're never really going to have just five guys go the whole year. You'll have issues here and there. But the longer you can have those guys out there, the better chance you have for success as a pitching staff."