Twins' Burnett thrilled by better outing


Minnesota Twins right hand pitcher Alex Burnett

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

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JUPITER, FLA. — Twins righthanded reliever Alex Burnett spent a lot of time in the bullpen Thursday with pitching coach Rick Anderson going over his mechanics.

"What was going on was I really wasn't using my legs," Burnett said. "I was trying to throw with my whole upper body, so I didn't have any direction or any action on any of my pitches."

On Saturday, he took those lessons -- as well as a 16.85 ERA -- to the mound against a Marlins split squad. Burnett pitched a 11/3 scoreless innings in the Twins' 5-2 victory, getting him to a place he can take off from.

He gave up a single to Chris Coghlan but picked him off during an easy sixth inning.

"I felt really strong, a million times better than when I was out there before," Burnett said. "Probably one of my better days of spring."

In 107 major league games over the past two seasons, Burnett has a 5.40 ERA. But the Twins remain convinced that Burnett can develop into a good reliever.

"He's fearless and will come at you," Anderson said. "His stuff is alive. And if he ever gets command of his pitches, he can be one of the better ones around, I think."

The 24-year-old Burnett believes he can become a reliever the club can rely on, especially this spring, as the Twins are looking at several arms to fill out the bullpen.

He knows that up until this point, he has failed to show them what he can do.

"This was probably one of the worst springs I've ever had," he said. "So I wasn't used to it and I was getting frustrated with myself out on the mound. But take it day by day and work on whatever we need to work on to get better."

Good day for Baker

Twins righthander Scott Baker gave two thumbs up after testing his injured right elbow with 52 pitches, including 15 warm-up tosses, in a bullpen session Saturday in Fort Myers.

Baker, who has been dealing with elbow tendinitis, said he was throwing with about 75-80 percent effort. He will have another bullpen session Monday, and if that goes well, he could be ready to start an exhibition game Thursday.

"Monday will be more of a max effort bullpen," Baker said. "So as long as I recover [Sunday], then that's what we'll do."

Baker guessed that if all goes well, he probably would throw about 40 pitches in Thursday's game.

It remains uncertain whether Baker will be ready to make his first scheduled start of the season, in the April 9 home opener against the Angels. On Friday, Baker acknowledged that he might have to open the season on the disabled list, but either way, Saturday was regarded as a positive step.

On deck

The Twins have a B game at 9 a.m. against Pittsburgh before their 12:05 p.m. game against the Pirates in Fort Myers. Sam Deduno and Casey Fein are scheduled to pitch in the B game. Francisco Liriano will face Pirates righthander Charlie Morton in the official game.

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San Francisco 3 Bottom 2nd Inning
Kansas City 0
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
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Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
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Houston 36 2nd Qtr 7:27
Miami 25
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Minnesota 40
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Oklahoma City 33
Portland 8:00 PM
Phoenix 9:00 PM
LA Lakers
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Golden State
San Jose 3 3rd Prd
Boston 2
NY Rangers 1 3rd Prd
New Jersey 2
Toronto 5 3rd Prd
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Detroit 1 2nd Prd 6:19
Montreal 0
Arizona 1 2nd Prd
Nashville 1
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Winnipeg 2
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Chicago 0
Vancouver 0 1st Prd 10:43
Dallas 1
Florida 8:00 PM
Tampa Bay 8:00 PM
Arkansas State 9 2nd Qtr 15:00
Louisiana 13
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
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(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
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North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
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Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
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(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
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(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
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(10) TCU
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(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
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(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
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(21) Clemson
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(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
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