Twins take caution in Baker's relief role

Twins take caution in Baker's relief role

MINNEAPOLIS -- Scott Baker hasn't made a relief appearance since 2007, having been a part of the Twins' rotation for the past three years. When the time came to sort out the American League Division Series bullpen, though, manager Ron Gardenhire added him to the roster.

The Twins have no doubt Baker can pitch in relief, and liked him there more than Kevin Slowey, who was left off the ALDS roster. That said, a lingering case of elbow tendinitis will make the Twins cautious on how they use Baker.

"You give him more time to warm up," pitching coach Rick Anderson said on Thursday. "More times than not, you probably won't bring him in in the middle of the inning. If you have him start an inning, that should give him plenty of time. You wouldn't repeat him a day. You just kind of watch as you go, but you just don't want to hurt him."

Anderson did not call him a long reliever but did say his rotation work this year allows them to stretch him out for several innings if they need it.

Technically, Baker has never pitched in the postseason, though he was the starting pitcher in last year's AL Central tiebreaker against Detroit.