Replacements being stretched out for rotation
- Article by: La VELLE E. NEAL III
- Star Tribune
- March 28, 2012 - 11:56 PM
FORT MYERS, FLA. - The Twins aren't sure if righthanders Scott Baker and Jason Marquis will be ready to begin the regular season in the starting rotation and are stretching out other pitchers as possible replacements during the early weeks of the schedule.
Righthander Anthony Swarzak pitched 3 2/3 innings Tuesday against Baltimore. Lefthander Matt Maloney, who has thrown two innings in each of his past three outings, will start Thursday against Pittsburgh.
And pitching coach Rick Anderson said that righthander Liam Hendriks can throw 70 to 80 pitches right now if needed to start. Hendriks would be the logical choice to step into the rotation because he's built up his arm.
"Everything we've been doing is preparing ourselves,'' manager Ron Gardenhire said. "You never know how you are going to start, and you never know what's going to happen. That's preparing ourselves with Hendriks and Swarzy and Maloney stretching out because we are so uncertain right now.''
Baker experienced elbow soreness early in camp and missed a few outings because of it. The club was concerned Monday when he looked as if he wasn't throwing as hard as they expected while giving up seven runs in 22/3 inning to Tampa.
After throwing in the bullpen Wednesday, Baker acknowledged that "the ball wasn't coming out of his hand well'' but said he's on the right track.
"I feel good enough to get ready for the season,'' he said.
Marquis left camp on March 21 to return to his home in Staten Island, N.Y., after his 7-year old daughter, Reese, was seriously injured in a bicycle accident. On Thursday, Marquis will have missed a second scheduled start.
He's tried to throw simulated games while at home, but the Twins, who want him to stay with his family as long as he needs, nevertheless anticipate that he will need more time to prepare for the season once he returns.
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