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Twins righthander Scott Baker

Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

An awful B-game outing for Baker

  • March 10, 2012 - 10:34 PM

For Baker, early and awful

Twins pitcher Scott Baker looked out of sorts Saturday, pitching in a B game at the Pirates minor league complex in Bradenton, Fla.

The bus arrived at 9:30 a.m., about 30 minutes before game time, and knowing Baker needed longer to get loose, the Twins used two relievers first, letting him start the third inning.

His fastball, which typically averages 91 miles per hour, was clocked between 83 and 86 mph. He gave up six hits -- including a long home run by Matt Hague -- and six runs, while recording four outs.

"I stunk," said Baker, who threw 44 pitches. "I didn't get the ball down. I wasn't finishing pitches. Obviously I'm not a robot, but it just happened to be a poor day. I don't know if the bus ride had anything to do with it or not. I felt fine."

Four days earlier, Baker held the Rays without a hit over two scoreless innings. This looked more like a bullpen session.

"It is 10:30 ... and it's a B game," Baker said. "You try to create adrenaline, but it is what it is. At this point, you're just getting the reps in, and you're just throwing some pitches, getting comfortable with off-speed."

Baker's next outing will come on regular rest, four days, next Thursday.

"He might need a little more preparation than riding a bus and getting out and trying to pitch because he didn't react very well to that," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Arcia's long drive

The Twins lost the B game 8-2, but outfielder Oswaldo Arcia delivered an eye-opener. Arcia, ranked by Baseball America as the Twins' No. 5 prospect, cleared a 20-foot fence for an opposite-field home run off Chris Leroux, a hard-throwing righthander who posted a 2.88 ERA in 23 games for the Pirates last year.

Arcia, 20, has yet to play above Class A, but the lefthanded-hitting Venezuelan native looks like a legitimate corner-outfield prospect.

"All the things you hear about the kid [Arcia] is he's a big, strong, powerful kid," Gardenhire said. "He's got things to learn. He's got a ways to go to get better, but you throw him something out and over the plate like that, and he'll crush it."

Doyle struggles, too

Terry Doyle, a Rule 5 pick who must either make the Opening Day roster or be offered back to the White Sox, started the A game against the Pirates and didn't fare much better than Baker, allowing two runs on seven hits in 22/3 innings.

The Pirates ran into two of those outs on the bases.

Pitchers often deal with arm fatigue at this stage of camp, but Doyle said: "I think the problem today is that I felt too good. I was overthrowing a little bit, didn't get the ball down in the zone and couldn't get any sink on my fastball."

On deck

Nick Blackburn will start for the Twins opposite Yankees righthander Phil Hughes when the two teams meet at 12:05 p.m. Sunday in Fort Myers, a game televised on Fox Sports North.

JOE CHRISTENSEN

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