Twins pitcher Anthony Swarzak

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Swarzak to go inning by inning

  • Article by: La VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Star Tribune
  • May 24, 2012 - 2:40 PM

CHICAGO - Righthander Anthony Swarzak threw only 37 pitches Sunday in his most recent relief outing, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he's not worried about Swarzak not being stretched out before his scheduled start Friday against Detroit.

Swarzak did make three starts earlier in the season before moving to the bullpen, throwing a season high of 97 pitches during an April 13 outing against Texas.

"We haven't extended him out that much but he has thrown a lot of baseball," Gardenhire said. "I haven't put a pitch count on him but we'll just go inning by inning. If we can get five innings out of him, then we can go inning by inning with him."

Gardenhire said lefthander Francisco Liriano likely would enter the game if Swarzak struggles early.

The Twins need Swarzak to start after Nick Blackburn landed on the disabled list last week and Jason Marquis was designated for assignment Tuesday. Swarzak will start on the day Marquis had been scheduled to pitch.

Swarzak, who threw a lengthy bullpen session Tuesday, has a 3.06 ERA as a reliever but 6.75 as a starter. All three home runs hit off him have come in his starts.

More on Walters

Some fans watching the Twins-White Sox game on Tuesday took to Twitter wondering what the initials AFW were behind the pitcher's mound.

They were put there by righthander P.J. Walters, who threw a complete game in the Twins' 9-2 victory.

Annabelle Faith Walters was diagnosed with a rare heart defect while still unborn and was given very little chance to survive. She was born on Feb. 10, 2010 -- 14 weeks premature -- while her father was in training camp with the Cardinals.

Toward the end of camp, Annabelle's condition worsened and Walters was summoned to the Mobile, Ala., hospital where Annabelle spent her entire life.

Annabelle died on April 2. The Cardinals were in Minnesota at the time, playing the Twins in an exhibition game at the then-newly opened Target Field.

Ever since then, Walters writes the initials in the dirt on the back of the pitcher's mound when he starts.

"I enjoy playing the game," Walters said. "I enjoy pitching and all these things. But now I've got a wife [Brittney] and a son [Phillip III] that's seven months old and I have my daughter. You are pitching for a little more than yourself, whenever I take the mound it matters a little more than just me."

Doumit in the field?

Ryan Doumit had to test his right calf in the second inning Tuesday when he legged out a double. He came through fine, but Gardenhire lifted him for a pinch runner in the seventh inning as a precaution.

Gardenhire, however, is not quite ready to use Doumit behind the plate.

"I'd like to stay away from catching him right now in game situations for at least a day or two more," Gardenhire said.

Eventually, Gardenhire would like to move Joe Mauer to first and use Justin Morneau as the designated hitter for a day.

Gardenhire added that Drew Butera probably would catch Carl Pavano on Saturday, as if that's a surprise. Butera has become Pavano's primary catcher.

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