BALTIMORE – Anthony Swarzak noticed a lump on his gums when he woke up Tuesday morning, but he went through with his plans to pitch a game in extended spring training. By nightfall, he was in pain, and in a dentist’s chair. By the next morning, he was at a surgeon’s office, minus four teeth.
The tooth near the lump “ended up being infected, so it was like an emergency situation,” the righthander said Sunday, shortly after rejoining the Twins, his broken ribs now completely healed. “It was not enjoyable and not something I had a choice in. It had to get done that day.”
He’s been eating soups and soft foods ever since, and has lost 3 pounds, but said “today is the first day where I actually feel a little normal again.” So normal in fact, that he was ready to make his 2013 debut when manager Ron Gardenhire called for him in the sixth inning.
Swarzak pitched to six hitters, and worked his way out of trouble by inducing a double-play ball by Nolan Reimold. He walked one and struck out one, and said he felt no pain, in his mouth or his ribs.
He’ll still have to take a little grief from his manager about the nature of his “horseplay” injury in January, though. Asked what Swarzak’s limit would be Sunday, Gardenhire said, “No wrestling matches — that’s his limit.”
Optimism on Diamond
Scott Diamond allowed four runs over five innings Sunday against the Bradenton Marauders, but the most important stat to the Twins, said General Manager Terry Ryan, was “no walks and no issues.” If his pitching elbow has no discomfort on Monday, Gardenhire said, Diamond’s next start will be Friday against the New York Mets.
Diamond, pitching for the Class A Fort Myers Miracle, threw 83 pitches, 54 for strikes. He struck out three.
His presence, plus Thursday’s day off, will push the Twins’ starters back a couple of days, but Gardenhire said he doesn’t mind that, especially early in the year.
• Samuel Deduno should be ready to throw live batting practice in the next few days. “He’s getting there, but it’s been a little but of a slow process,” Ryan said of Deduno’s recovery from a groin strain. “He’s in extended [spring training] now. Once we get him stretched out, the next step would probably be to get him up to Rochester.” Ryan said Rich Harden, trying to come back from shoulder surgery, will begin pitching to hitters in Twins camp “in about 10 days,” and lefthander Rafael Perez might throw before that.
• Mike Pelfrey stole back into the Twins’ clubhouse Saturday night to watch the closing minutes of Wichita State’s loss to Louisville in the NCAA semifinal, and he sounded as disappointed as the Shockers’ coach afterward.
“They missed shots they should have made, and that jump ball call was too fast. But what are you going to do?” said the Wichita native and former WSU pitcher.
• Darin Mastroianni was thrown out trying to steal on Sunday by Orioles catcher Taylor Teagarden, the third consecutive would-be base stealer to be caught in the series. Gardenhire said he wouldn’t try to run again on Matt Wieters, who caught the first two games, after both Aaron Hicks and Eduardo Escobar were thrown out on Saturday.
“Hit and run from now on,” Gardenhire joked after watching Wieters, whose throws have been clocked at 95 mph, cost him baserunners. “I watched him drop his back foot anticipating it [Saturday], and I said, ‘Oh, no, Hicksie, don’t try it.’ He took off and ... uh-oh.”