Twins look for way to hang on to Diamond

FORT MYERS, FLA. - Indications are that the Twins have spoken with Atlanta about swinging a deal to keep lefthander Scott Diamond and send him to the minors.

Diamond, a Rule 5 draft pick from the Braves organization, has not pitched in a major league spring training game since March 12 because of a cut on his thumb that affects his pitching.

Diamond has to remain on the major league roster for the whole season or the Twins must offer him back to Atlanta for half of the $50,000 draft fee.

Diamond, who has thrown six scoreless innings in five minor league spring training outings, pitched twice last week in minor league spring training games. That includes Saturday, when he gave up an unearned run over two innings.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who watched the outing, said it was the best he's seen Diamond throw. "I would love to see more,'' Gardenhire said.

If the Twins can work a deal for Diamond, he could go to Class AAA Rochester. Diamond, 24, was 4-6 with a 3.52 ERA in 17 starts at Class AA Mississippi last season, then 4-1, 3.36 in 10 starts at Class AAA Gwinnett.

Dice-K vs. Nishi

Japanese media members filled up all empty seats in the press box Saturday to chronicle Tsuyoshi Nishioka's Twins vs. Daisuke Matsuzaka's Red Sox.

The two are stars in Japan but had not faced each other since 2006 when both played in the Japanese Leagues.

Nishioka was 8-for-29 (.276) against Matsuzaka in Japan. On Saturday, he grounded out, lined out and hit into a force play as his 13-game hitting streak came to an end.

Saturday's game

The Twins have rallied against Bobby Jenks during the regular season. Spring training is no different.

The Twins scored six runs off the Red Sox reliever in the ninth inning and won 9-8. They won the spring training series 9-8 and took another Mayor's Cup. Gardenhire strutted into the clubhouse, holding the cup.

"I'm waiting for President Obama to call and invite us to the White House,'' he said.


• Jim Thome went 3-for-3 with a double and a walk while playing in a minor league spring training game.

On deck

Twins righthander Carl Pavano will face Yankees righthander Romulo Sanchez when the teams meet Sunday at Hammond Stadium.