03/24/2013 5:35 PM ET
After strong relief outings, Walters struggles in start
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With right-hander P.J. Walters having a solid spring in relief, the Twins wanted to get a look at him in a starting role.
And they got that chance on Sunday against the Blue Jays with Samuel Deduno getting scratched from his outing because of left groin tightness.
Walters, who entered with a perfect 0.00 ERA in 11 innings, didn't fare as well against Toronto, as he surrendered three runs on four hits and two walks over three-plus innings. He also served up a two-run blast to Luis Jimenez on a windy day that featured seven homers between the two clubs.
Walters, who is competing for a spot in the rotation with Liam Hendriks and Cole De Vries, threw 57 pitches and said he thinks he can be stretched out in time for the regular season with another start on Friday.
"I just need one more, and I'll be right there with everybody else," said Walters, who is not on the 40-man roster. "But we've been here long enough. We've been throwing every day for six or seven weeks now. We're in shape."
Walters said he knows what is at stake with a little more than a week before Opening Day and is embracing the challenge.
"It's a great opportunity," Walters said. "Every team has guys leaving the staff and young guys want to step up and be one of those guys to get in there early and prove you can pitch."
Wood likely out for start of season with shoulder strain
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Reliever Tim Wood has been diagnosed with a right rotator cuff strain and will likely not be ready for the start of the season, Twins general manager Terry Ryan said Sunday.
Wood felt discomfort in his shoulder after throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Rays on Saturday and was diagnosed with the rotator cuff strain on Sunday.
Wood, who is out of Minor League options, was a strong candidate to make the bullpen out of camp, as he had been pitching well since struggling against the Rays on March 5. Wood has a 4.91 ERA with 10 strikeouts in 11 innings this spring, but his ERA over his last five outings (6 1/3 innings) is 1.42.
Ryan said the Twins will wait to decide whether to place Wood on the 15-day disabled list, because the club wants to assess the seriousness of the injury first.
"We'll see how it goes," Ryan said. "He doesn't feel right, so we're going to have to take care of it. I don't think it's an MRI situation. He just doesn't feel right. I don't know if it'll be a week or a month or what it'll be. We'll see. It could just be discomfort."
Diamond on track for return despite subpar outing
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Left-hander Scott Diamond said Sunday that his Minor League outing went according to plan despite subpar results against Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday.
Diamond, who had a bone chip removed from his elbow in December, allowed three runs on five hits over three innings in his second start of the spring. He threw 45 pitches and is expected to ramp it up to 60 in his next Minor League outing on Thursday.
"Results-wise it wasn't so great, but health-wise I felt really good," Diamond said. "It's another stepping stone and I was able to get the pitch count up. I probably could've thrown more based on how the innings were going. So everything went well."
Diamond, who is currently on the 15-day disabled list, said he remains on track to start on April 12 against the Mets at Target Field. Diamond is scheduled to make three more starts in the Minor Leagues to get his pitch count to 100 before making his return.
"I want to go deep into the game, so I need to get my pitch count up," Diamond said.
Rule 5 pick Pressly is top bullpen candidate
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins right-hander Ryan Pressly, who was selected from the Red Sox in December's Rule 5 Draft, has continued to impress this spring and is a top candidate to make Minnesota's bullpen.
Entering Sunday's game against the Blue Jays, Pressly had allowed just one run in 11 innings this spring for a 0.82 ERA. He's also walked three and struck out three.
"I don't think it could be going any better," Pressly said. "Things are starting to fall into place. I'm liking where I'm sitting right now, so we'll have to wait and see what happens."
Pressly is in a tough position, as he must make the club and remain on the Twins' 25-man roster for the entire season, or else he will be offered back to the Red Sox.
Another option -- if Minnesota doesn't want to keep him on the active roster all year -- would be to offer him back and acquire him in a trade like the Twins did in 2011 with Scott Diamond. But given his success this spring, it's doubtful the Red Sox would want to deal him to the Twins.
"We like him," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We like him a lot. He's throwing the ball well. Good angle, nice little breaking ball, good velocity."
Gardenhire added that if Pressly makes the roster, he won't simply be stashed in the back of the bullpen all season despite the fact that he has never pitched above Double-A.
"If he makes it, it's because we think he can pitch," Gardenhire said. "We think he can pitch now, not for the future with this ballclub. If he makes this ballclub, it's because he can pitch."