Baker scheduled to start Saturday

By La Velle E. Neal III

Star Tribune

ARLINGTON, TEXAS — Twins right-hander Scott Baker, who left Saturday's game because of a mild groin muscle strain, has a bullpen session scheduled for Wednesday and is expected to start Saturday.

He will be flip-flopped with righthander Livan Hernandez in the rotation to give him an extra day to make sure he doesn't aggravate the injury.

Baker said the area was a little tender Sunday, but he fully expects to start on Saturday. "Oh yeah," he said.


The Twins need Baker to be healthy. The club has gone seven consecutive starts without a win from a member of its rotation. Francisco Liriano didn't make it out of the first inning Thursday against the Athletics, Baker left against the Rangers in the fifth inning Saturday and Hernandez hit the showers in the third inning Sunday.

"It was just one of those road trips where it just didn't work out with our starting staff," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Gasp! Wheeze!

Because the starters have been ineffective and knocked out of games early, the Twins bullpen has had to do more lifting than Gardenhire likes.

"Our bullpen is overworked, to say the least," he said.

Right-hander Bobby Korecky, who was called up on Friday, pitched Saturday and Sunday. Gardenhire really wanted lefthander Dennys Reyes and righthanders Matt Guerrier and Jesse Crain to get a day off.

So Joe Nathan, who hadn't pitched since Tuesday, entered Sunday's game in the eighth inning and gave up a first-pitch homer to Josh Hamilton, the first run the Twins closer has given up in 2008.

Monday’s off day should allow Gardenhire to have everyone available today.

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