Twins right-hander Scott Baker will not get the Opening Day start after he was placed on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with right shoulder stiffness.
The move was made retroactive to March 28. So Baker will be eligible to come off the disabled list on April 12.
Francisco Liriano will start Opening Day against the Mariners on Monday in place of Baker. The Twins rotation will then go as follows — Nick Blackburn Kevin Slowey, and Glen Perkins in the next three games vs. Seattle.
Friday’s starter in Chicago has not yet been named but it’s expected to be knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who started Wednesday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Rays.
Baker threw just 58 pitches in a Minor League start against Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday.
Joe Mauer and Boof Bonser were also placed on the 15-day disabled list. Those were expected moves.
The Twins announced Saturday that they had agreed to terms with pitcher
Scott Baker on a four-year, $15.25 million contract that includes a $9.25
million club option for the 2013 season.
Baker, 27, was 11-4 with a 3.45 ERA in 28 starts for the
Twins last season. He held opponents to a .247 batting average and led all of
the Twins pitchers with 141 strikeouts in 172 1/3 innings. He’s scheduled to be
the Twins Opening Day pitcher on April 6.
The right-hander was in line to be eligible for
arbitration after the 2009 season. The contract will buy out all three of Baker’s
arbitration years and would also cover his first year of free agency should his
option be picked up.
Baker holds a career record of 28-24 with a 4.23 ERA.
Friday’s game against the Yankees marked Joe Crede’s debut in a Twins uniform. But while many fans were focused on Crede’s big step, there was another player making strides in his attempt to return to the field — catcher Joe Mauer.
Mauer’s latest acheivement came on Friday when he caught one of Glen Perkins’ bullpen sessions. The catcher then took swings off a tee inside the batting cage. Around 40 people watched Mauer’s session in which he also took soft flips from bullpen catcher Nate Dammann.
There still is no expected timeline for when Mauer will rejoin his teammates on the field, but he’s making progress and that’s definitely positive news for the Twins.
Here are some other news and notes from Friday:
- Scott Baker’s outing wasn’t pretty in the box score (3 earned runs on six hits over two innings, including a solo home run), but at this point in the spring it wasn’t anything that worried the coaching staff. Pitching coach Rick Anderson said Thursday that he’s asking his pitchers to work on one or two pitches in their early outings. Baker said he threw mostly fastballs, but that his troubles were a result of being a little amped up for his first start. Although he said he still doesn’t like “to get hit around,” Baker said he’s trying to focus on his pitches so that he’ll be ready for his Opening Day start.
- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire hasn’t given much indication as to what his lineup will look like in 2009, but on Friday he indicated that Justin Morneau will likely be back in the cleanup spot. When asked if he might separate Mauer and Morneau in the order, Gardenhire said, “I have no problem with it but you don’t have to do it because they hit both lefties and righties.”
- Catching prospect Wilson Ramos, who was ranked the Twins No. 3 prospect by Baseball America, impressed the fans during Friday’s contest with his arm. He threw out two would-be basestealers after taking over for Mike Redmond behind the plate. But Ramos is known more for his offense than his defense. “He’s a pretty good player,” Gardenhire said. “He’s going to be a good one, we think. He’s got things to learn defensively, believe me.”