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05/10/2013 9:00 PM ET

Twins bullpen much improved from last season

MINNEAPOLIS -- The bullpen has continued to be a strong suit for the Twins, as Minnesota's relievers have combined for a 2.63 ERA entering Friday that ranks second in the Majors.

It's been an improvement on last year, when the bullpen combined for a 3.77 ERA that ranked as the 17th best mark in baseball.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the key has been the starters going deeper into games this year to give relievers specific roles and limit their workload. Minnesota relievers ranked third in innings pitched last year, compared to 10th this year.

"We always talk about not overworking them, but there are going to be times when you have to," Gardenhire said. "They're going to have to step up and do a few extra things. But they've risen up and done just about everything we've thrown at them. They all have their roles and are fitting in pretty good. It seems like no matter who we sent out there, they do a really nice job for us."

Gardenhire eager to get Arcia more playing time

MINNEAPOLIS -- Rookie outfielder Oswaldo Arcia has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball so far in May, and he will get regular playing time moving forward, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Friday.

Arcia, in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak, was batting .444 (12-for-27) this month entering Friday, which ranks second in the Majors only to Detroit's Miguel Cabrera. And with a homer, three doubles and a triple, he was also slugging .741, which is second only to Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria.

"He's swinging really well," Gardenhire said. "He's very confident. It's fun watching him making adjustments as the games go along. He can hit the ball a long ways. He was chasing a few pitches, but was able to go flat-footed and shoot a couple the other way."

Gardenhire had Arcia in the lineup again on Friday, starting in right field and batting seventh. It came at the expense of Chris Parmelee, who was on the bench for a third straight game.

"Somebody is going to have to sit pretty much every day," Gardenhire said. "One of the guys you'd like to see in there. But I like to see the young man in there. He's in there to play. He needs to play."

The one knock on Arcia is that he's only drawn four walks in 68 plate appearances, but Gardenhire said he expects that total to improve as he gets more experience. And considering the way he's hitting, Gardenhire isn't going to complain about Arcia's free-swinging approach.

"Maybe he'll be able to draw a few walks here and there, but right now he's kind of in that Kirby Puckett-type swing with the 'Thou shall not pass on an offering,'" Gardenhire said. "No matter how high or low you throw it, he's gonna take a whack at it. And he's done that very well. I'm not going to hold him back."

Florimon not in lineup Friday due to hamstring injury

MINNEAPOLIS -- Shortstop Pedro Florimon, who left Thursday's game against the Red Sox with a tight right hamstring, was held out of the lineup for precautionary reasons against the Orioles on Friday.

Florimon experienced the tightness in his hamstring as he stepped on first base while trying to beat out a bunt attempt in the seventh inning, and he was replaced by Eduardo Escobar. Escobar made the start in his place on Friday, starting at short and batting ninth.

Florimon tested out his hamstring by running in the outfield during batting practice and said everything felt OK.

"He's fine," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "He ran around out there during pregame and said he was fine. He said he can play and is available if needed."

Worth noting

• Closer Glen Perkins reported some tightness in his left side and was unavailable for Friday's game against the Orioles. Antony said Perkins felt discomfort when pitching against Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino in the ninth inning of Thursday's 5-3 win. Perkins was still able to throw a scoreless ninth with two strikeouts to pick up his eighth save in as many chances.

• Outfielder Darin Mastroianni, who is on the 15-day disabled list with a left ankle stress reaction, was examined by team doctors on Friday and will have his walking boot removed this weekend or early next week, according to Antony. There is still no official timetable for Mastroianni's return, but it's expected to be about two-to-four weeks.

• Cole De Vries, who is on the 15-day disabled list with right forearm tightness, made his second rehab start on Friday. The right-hander gave up five runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks over five innings with five strikeouts with Double-A New Britain. De Vries threw 71 pitches, and he is expected to make at least one more rehab start before being activated from the DL.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.