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Twins outfielder Jason Kubel

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Twins lefthander Scott Diamond has given up eight runs in six innings this spring. “I’m not getting pounded, that’s the frustrating thing,” he said.

GERALD HERBERT • Associated Press,

Kubel pounds solo home run; Tampa Bay crushes Twins

  • March 12, 2014 - 12:25 AM

– Another annoying outing for Scott Diamond. Another day of wondering why he can’t disrupt hitters’ timing the way he used to.

The Twins lefthander, one of several candidates for the lone vacancy in the rotation, pitched two innings in Tuesday’s 7-1 loss to Tampa Bay at Charlotte Sports Park, and gave up runs in each of them.

That makes six innings for Diamond this spring, and runs allowed in four of them, a total of eight (though four were unearned). Against the Rays, it was four singles, a walk and a throwing error, none of it particularly hard-hit, but cumulatively worrisome.

“I’m not getting pounded, and that’s the frustrating thing. I need to change my approach a little bit, I need to be a little bit more aggressive,” said the 27-year-old Canadian, a 12-game winner as a rookie in 2012. “I’m still leaving balls up in the zone.”

He’s got company there. Rays ace lefty David Price left one up to Jason Kubel, and the projected Twins designated hitter bashed it over the fence in right-center, a home run that broke a 1-for-14 start to training camp.

“It feels good to hit one hard,” Kubel said. “The results aren’t there, but I feel like the last few games, four or five at-bats, have been pretty good.”

Kubel’s solo shot, however, was the lone run the Twins could manage off Price and the former Cy Young Award winner’s three relievers. Ricky Nolasco gave up two runs in his second start of the spring, going four innings and 57 pitches, but Diamond, Ryan Pressly (two runs in one inning) and Caleb Thielbar (one run in one inning) enabled Tampa Bay’s lead to keep expanding.

PHIL MILLER

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