FORT MYERS, FLA - Kevin Correia has the honor of throwing the first pitch for the Twins this spring, mostly because he's got an even bigger milestone coming up next week.

Correia will start Saturday's Grapefruit League opener in Sarasota against the Orioles, and he's scheduled to pitch once more next week. Then he will head home for a few days to San Diego, where his wife Diana is scheduled to give birth to the couple's third child.

"It's all planned. He'll come back after that," manager Ron Gardenhire said of the righthander's plans. "It's not like, 'she might have it this day.' They just schedule 'em nowadays. Different world. Already been offered a full scholarship to Yale."

One-liners aside, the start of the exhibition season is when things get serious in camp, and eight other pitchers are set to throw an inning apiece in Sarasota -- Shairon Martis, Ryan Pressly, Josh Roenicke, Tyler Robertson, Tim Wood, Anthony Slama, Luis Perdomo and Bryan Augenstein.

Too much rope

It was a jump rope that ruined Scott Diamond's winter. The Twins' 12-game winner was skipping rope to get his heart rate up at the end of a December workout, and "I felt a crack in my elbow," he said. "I tried to bench [press], and it didn't feel right, so we shut it down. ... I never had that kind of discomfort during the season, [so] I just knew something was up."

Bone chips were what was up, but now they're out after arthroscopic surgery in December. The operation put Diamond's status for the start of the season in doubt, but Wednesday he sounded elated as he described the morning's bullpen session, his second in two days.

"I felt good. I'm just trying to get the kinks out, but structurally, it feels awesome," Diamond said after throwing 25 pitches, all fastballs, from roughly 60 feet. "I'm not having any discomfort or tightness the next day. So basically, the recovery is going really well."

That comes after a 20-pitch outing on Tuesday from 55 feet away, Diamond's first real activity of camp. The Twins are being so careful with his elbow, Diamond hasn't even been taking part in fielding drills, as the spin-and-soft-toss-to-first-base motion might stress the elbow.



Second baseman/shortstop

Age: 31

Acquired: Signed as a free agent, Dec. 9.

2012 stats: Batted .273 in 80 games at Class AAA Charlotte, then spent Aug.-Sept. with the White Sox and hit .244 in 41 at-bats.

Role: Reserve infielder and defensive replacement at three IF positions.

Did You Know? The Twins are the 10th organization to sign the Venezuelan, but he has made the majors with only three teams.