BRADENTON, FLA. -- Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla was scratched from today's lineup with stiffness in the back of his right knee.

The Twins said it was a precautionary move, and Manager Ron Gardenhire actually said he hoped Casilla could loosen up his leg to be ready off the bench today.

Lefthander Matt Maloney, who has yet to allow a run in 11 1/3 innings of relief this spring, will be making his first start, as the Twins face the Pirates at McKechnie Field.

The Twins aren't sure if Scott Baker (right elbow) or Jason Marquis (family issue) will be ready to start the season, so they need to have others ready. Liam Hendriks, Anthony Swarzak are others who've been given starts, and now Maloney is getting his chance.

Update: Baker will start Saturday, as planned, but it will be in a minor-league game, which will buy the Twins time if he needs to start the year on the 15-day DL. Baker could be placed on the DL retroactive to March 27, the day after he last pitched in a Grapefruit League game.

It's possible Marquis could be placed on baseball's bereavement list because he's been tending to his 7-year-old daughter, who was in a serious bicycle accident. She is making progress, by the way, which is the most important thing. But MLB now allows players to be placed on the bereavement list for a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven.

Twins GM Terry Ryan said the team has discussed having four starting pitchers and eight relievers on the Opening Day roster. Again, the Twins won't need their fifth starter's spot until April 15 because of the open date on April 10.

It's also looking more and more like Chris Parmelee will be the Opening Day first baseman if Justin Morneau sticks to DH.

Asked which player has been team's most pleasant surprise this spring, Ryan said, "Parmelee. From Day 1. I mean, he’s just taken good at-bats, he’s played a very good first base. He’s done OK in the outfield. You start to wait for him to crack because he’s a kid and hasn’t played Triple-A. There’s been one or two at-bats where I said, 'That didn’t look so good.' People say that about the best player in the game."

TWINS (15-12)

1. Ben Revere, CF
2. Alexi Casilla Daniel Santana, 2B
3. Danny Valencia, DH
4. Chris Parmelee, 1B
5. Luke Hughes, 3B
6. Angel Morales, RF
7. Brian Dinkelman, LF
8. Brian Dozier, SS
9. Drew Butera, C

Starting pitcher: LH Matt Maloney

PIRATES (8-16)

1. Alex Presley, LF
2. Josh Harrison, SS
3. Jose Tabata, RF
4. Casey McGehee, 1B
5. Neil Walker, 2B
6. Nate McLouth, CF
7. Pedro Alvarez, 3B
8. Michael McKenry, C
9. James McDonald, P

Starting pitcher: RH James McDonald

McKechnie Field. First pitch: 12:05 p.m. (Central). No TV. Twins Radio Network.

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