Baker to start against Tigers on Saturday

Baker to start against Tigers on Saturday

MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Scott Baker, on the disabled list retroactive to July 7 with a strained right flexor muscle, threw a bullpen on Wednesday with no problems, and will be activated in time to start Saturday's game against the Tigers.

"It went well," said Baker, who estimated that he threw 50 pitches. "I guess you get to the point where you don't think about it, and that's kind of the point where you want to be. Today, I was working on my mechanics and not thinking about the elbow. So that's always a good feeling. Unless something happens that's unseen, I should be good to go Saturday."

Baker, who has been the club's most reliable starter with a 3.01 ERA and a team-high 104 strikeouts, was originally expected to start the first game of Monday's doubleheader against the Indians, but was scratched and placed on the disabled list on Sunday.

"He felt good," Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said. "He didn't feel a thing. So he's on target to go Saturday. So it's a good thing. He felt more confident in this one. The last one he barely felt it, but this one, nothing. So he's good to go."

Fellow right-hander Kevin Slowey, on the DL retroactive to May 21 with an abdominal strain, is also slated to make a rehab start with Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday night.

Jason Kubel is also scheduled to play in that game, as he's expected to play nine innings in right field after serving as designated hitter with the Red Wings on Tuesday. Kubel, out since May 30 with a sprained left foot, could return to action as early as Friday.

"If Kubes is ready for Friday, then that's great," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "If he comes today and tomorrow, and he starts putting some good swings out there and his foot goes through it, and they feel it's the right time, then great. But if not, we'll give him a few more days and give him the weekend to have him meet us in Texas."

Center fielder Denard Span, who suffered a concussion on June 3 in a collision with Royals catcher Brayan Pena, is taking a scheduled day off on Wednesday before playing again on Thursday.

"You know Span is going to take a bit longer here," Gardenhire said. "He's played a few days but they're still gauging where he's at. He feels good."