4/13/2013 12:20 A.M. ET
Twins grounds crew clears snow in impressive time
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- With snowfall in the Twin Cities over the last three days, the Twins' grounds crew was hard at work this week to get ready for Friday night's game against the Mets.
Twins head groundskeeper Larry DiVito said his crew spent the last two days clearing the field of snow, especially in the warning track because it's the only area of the field that isn't heated.
"We were fortunate last night it just drizzled and there was only a little bit of snow overnight after we cleared the outfield," DiVito said. "So today is a pretty good day for us overall."
DiVito added that most of the snow was melted by the heaters under the playing field. The heaters work in five different zones -- left field, center field, right field, the infield and foul ground -- with the infield set to 64 degrees and the outfield set to 70 degrees.
"The biggest thing we did this week was preparing like it was two days of rain," DiVito said. "We got all the infield and mound prepped on Tuesday and Wednesday so that going into Wednesday night it was game ready. So when we came in today all I we had to worry about was getting rid of excess water on the tarp, clearing snow off the warning track and mowing."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he was impressed with the grounds crew's effort, as the game was able to be played despite a game-time temperature near freezing.
"We're lucky we're even able to play with all the weather that has come down on it," Gardenhire said. "So you tip your hat to the grounds crew. When they built it, they built it right."
Diamond ready to return to mound on Saturday
MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-hander Scott Diamond rejoined his teammates at Target Field on Friday in anticipation of his first start of the season against the Mets on Saturday.
Diamond, who had surgery to remove a bone chip from his left elbow in December, will be activated from the 15-day disabled list before Saturday's game. He last pitched on Sunday in a rehab outing with Class A Advanced Fort Myers, and gave up four runs on six hits over five innings.
"I'm really excited to be back," Diamond said. "Just being back in the locker room and seeing the guys again, I kinda missed them. So it's good to be back."
Diamond added there will be no limitations in his first start, as he threw 82 pitches in his last outing and felt great. He said his goal is to pick up where he left off last season, when he posted a 3.54 ERA in 27 starts as a rookie.
"I'm going to try to repeat last year. Whether or not the numbers look the same, there are a lot of positives and things I learned from last year. Some mental triggers I hope I can repeat this year. It is a new year, so it's a fresh start."
Injured De Vries to start throwing program Saturday
MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Cole De Vries, who is on the disabled list with a right forearm strain, said Friday he's scheduled to begin his throwing program on Saturday.
De Vries last threw on Friday in a bullpen session in Baltimore, but felt discomfort in his forearm, especially when throwing his breaking ball, and was ultimately placed on the disabled list before throwing a pitch this season.
"It's feeling good right now," De Vries said. "The tentative plan is to play catch tomorrow and slowly get down that path. I have no idea how long they'll want the throwing program to be. But the good news is it shouldn't take long to ramp it up because it's only been a week."
De Vries added it was tough to be placed on the DL before his first scheduled start, but that he had to be honest with the training staff because he didn't want any setbacks.
"I really wanted to pitch, but I knew it wasn't a good idea," De Vries said. "I could've pitched, but I don't know after four or five innings how I would've felt the next day. Or if I felt bad and maybe went on the DL for like two months. So I wanted to play it safe, but it was hard to say I couldn't do this. It was tough."
Hernandez leaves game early with strained calf
MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-hander Pedro Hernandez left Friday's 16-5 loss against the Mets in the sixth inning with a left calf strain. He's day-to-day.
Hernandez, who was pitching in long relief of starter Vance Worley, threw four pitches to Ike Davis with one out in the sixth before coming out of the game in the middle of the at-bat. He threw a warmup pitch to see if he still felt discomfort and the decision was made to take him out for reliever Ryan Pressly.
"It was something in his calf, but I don't think it was bad," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We'll wait until the morning and see how everything is. We need to make a roster move to activate Diamond, so we're going to wait and see what we have to do."
Hernandez tossed 4 1/3 innings, allowing one run on four hits. But one of those hits was a big one, as he gave up a grand slam to John Buck with nobody out in the second inning after Worley loaded the bases.
Hernandez, who made a spot start against the Orioles on Sunday, is a candidate to be either placed on the 15-day disabled list or optioned to Triple-A Rochester on Saturday, as the Twins have to make room for left-hander Scott Diamond, who is set to come off the 15-day disabled list on Saturday to start against the Mets.