Twins righthander Kyle Gibson was at Hammond Stadium on Tuesday after missing Monday's start because of flu-like symptoms. While he was unable to resume normal activities, the team still expects him to be ready to start Saturday's spring training finale against Boston.
Gibson, with a 2.75 ERA in five Grapefruit League outings covering 19⅔ innings, then would slide into the fourth spot in the Twins rotation for the regular season. It appears that the illness, which has infected six players on the team since camp opened, will cost Gibson only one spring training start.
Since Gibson should be able to throw around 100 pitches Saturday, his arm should be ready for the regular season.
" 'He's day to day," General Manager Terry Ryan said. "He's feeling better. Just not good enough to go yet."
Long poke for Pinto
Catcher Josmil Pinto, in a race to prove to the Twins he's ready to head north as Kurt Suzuki's backup, caught five innings and went 1-for-3 with a home run in a minor league game Tuesday.
"A long home run," club spokesman Dustin Morse said.
Pinto told the Twins he felt great, and the plan is for him to play in another minor league spring training game. He is attempting to rebound after suffering a concussion March 21 when he was hit in the head by the bat of Baltimore star Adam Jones completing his swing.
Down to 13
The Twins sent lefthander Aaron Thompson to Class AAA Rochester, leaving their roster at 29 players, 13 of them pitchers. By Opening Day, the Twins must get the roster down to 25, with 12 expected to be pitchers.
Lefthander Caleb Thielbar and his 5.73 ERA this spring aren't a strong case to make the team, but stranger things have happened in camp.
The other decisions will center on one of three candidates for the backup catcher role. The last cut likely will be utility player Doug Bernier.
If Thompson was disappointed about not heading north with the Twins, he didn't reveal it Tuesday. He posted a 2.16 ERA while holding opponents to a .226 batting average. Both manager Paul Molitor and Ryan have spoken highly of him following recent outings.
"I thought he had a decent camp," Ryan said, adding that he encouraged Thompson to keep his head up because it was a disappointing day.
Does this sound like someone disappointed? "Anyone who knows me knows I view things differently," Thompson said. "I'm excited about a new opportunity and new challenge to get back here. Sticking is the hard part. I haven't stuck yet. So I have to get down to the minor leagues and get stickier."
It's a battle of Opening Day starters Wednesday, as Twins righthander Phil Hughes is matched up against Boston righthander Clay Buchholz at Hammond Stadium. Look for Hughes to leave after 75 pitches because he will be tapering before his start Monday at Detroit.
La VELLE E. NEAL III