FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins closer Joe Nathan will take the mound in a game for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery last March when the Twins host the Red Sox on Tuesday afternoon at Hammond Stadium. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire revealed Friday that Nathan would see his first game action when he announced the tentative pitching rotation for the first week of Spring Training games. As previously announced, Carl Pavano will start the Twins' Grapefruit League opener on Sunday night against the Red Sox. Right-hander Nick Blackburn will pitch two innings in Monday's contest against Boston, with Kevin Slowey seeing action in relief.
Scott Baker, who felt great after his live batting practice session on Friday afternoon, will get the start on Tuesday in the third straight contest against the Red Sox. Brian Duensing will then start Wednesday against the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla., with Pavano pitching Thursday's contest against the Orioles in Sarasota. Francisco Liriano, who arrived at camp with left shoulder soreness, is scheduled to make his first start next Friday against the Rays, although he has yet to face hitters in live batting practice this spring.