Four-man rotation for Twins if they're in playoffs

Four-man rotation for Twins if they're in playoffs

MINNEAPOLS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire indicated the club would use a four-man rotation once the playoffs begin, if and when Minnesota clinches the American League Central Division.

"We haven't got there, but it sounds about right," Gardenhire said. "That's probably how things will set up if we get there."

Gardenhire declined to talk playoffs any further and wouldn't say who would make up the four-man playoff rotation, but Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano and Brian Duensing seem to be likely candidates to fill three-fourths of the spots. The fourth starter is likely to be one of three pitchers -- Nick Blackburn, Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey.

Baker will return to the rotation Tuesday against the Cleveland Indians. He has not pitched since Sept. 2 due to tendinitis in right elbow. After throwing a bullpen session on Saturday, the decision was made that Baker was good to go on Tuesday.

"Baker Tuesday, that's the plan," Gardenhire said.

The Twins manager will be more open about setting a rotation when the Twins finally clinch a division title. Gardenhire said it would be nice to clinch a playoff berth at Target Field, but he wants it to happen sooner rather than later no matter where it is.

"You would love to be able to do it here so our fans have a chance to enjoy," he said. "The quicker the better."