ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. – Kenta Maeda was so excited to be back in a MLB stadium again, escaping the monotony and loneliness of a long recovery at the Twins' minor league facility.

For a couple hours, at least.

The righthander has squirreled away in Fort Myers, Fla., rehabbing from his Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery this past fall. He has had only fellow injured pitcher Randy Dobnak for a teammate, so when the Twins came on the road to face the Rays, Maeda drove the two hours to spend three days among the squad. Dobnak also watched Saturday's game from the stands behind the bullpen, so he could chat up all the relievers.

Unfortunately, Maeda might have brought some bad juju with him. The Twins arrived in Tampa Bay with a seven-game winning streak, only to break it Friday with a 6-1 loss in which they gave up four runs in the first inning. Maeda was in the dugout for that defeat.

"I was talking to [Friday starter Dylan] Bundy earlier, and he asked me 'How long did you stay in the dugout for?' I told him I probably went in during the fourth inning," Maeda said in Japanese through an interpreter. "Because he gave up, what? Six runs in the first three innings? It was all the innings I was there."

Maeda is a superstitious guy in general, so for Saturday's game, he stayed in the clubhouse for the first couple innings and then went back to his hotel to watch the rest of the game. He planned to do the same Sunday. He left a note in the dugout to explain his absence, which read: "I'm sorry for snapping the winning streak. I will not be in the dugout," signing his name and No. 18.

His departure worked, as the Twins won 9-1 on Saturday and 9-3 Sunday.

"Friday, everyone was talking, 'Hey, it's so nice to see you,' " Maeda said. "Then the following day, they were thanking me for not being here. It's a weird situation."

He might have to continue that when he rejoins the team in Minnesota once the weather warms. That figures to come in June, right around the time when he will begin throwing bullpens. Currently, Maeda is stretched out to about 90-foot tosses.

Manager Rocco Baldelli said Maeda might even pitch toward the end of this season. While Maeda said he won't rush his return, it really can't come soon enough. He said he's tan enough from the Florida sun and longs to just hang out with the guys regularly.

Plus the Japanese cuisine in Florida is a bit lacking.

"Unfortunately, there aren't many good restaurants in Fort Myers, so I've been cooking a lot," Maeda said. "My cooking skill has gone up as well."

Arraez gets $2.1 million

Arraez and the Twins avoided arbitration, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.125 million.

That figure is the midpoint of the $2.4 million Arraez had asked for and the $1.85 million the Twins had offered. The deal includes two $37,500 bonuses for reaching 152 and 157 days on active roster.

There are still 20 MLB players with arbitration hearings scheduled through June 24, including Twins catcher Gary Sanchez. Hearings were delayed this year by the lockout.

Thursday starter

Sonny Gray had a rehab start Sunday in Fort Myers, on an about 50-pitch count. He went three innings with one hit and five strikeouts, but Baldelli is holding off on naming his next potential outing.

There is currently an open spot in the rotation for Thursday's series finale at Baltimore, which could go to Gray or Sunday starter Josh Winder, who made an excellent first MLB start in the series finale against the Rays.