Gardenhire sets rotation for weekend series

Gardenhire sets rotation for weekend series

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire set his starting rotation for this weekend's three-game series against the Rangers, as right-hander Anthony Swarzak will start Friday and will be followed by right-handers Nick Blackburn and Liam Hendriks.

Swarzak was expected to get the nod on Friday after starting in place of Hendriks last Sunday, as Hendriks was sidelined with food poisoning. But Hendriks is feeling better and threw his bullpen without any issues on Wednesday, and will get his first start of the season exactly a week later than originally scheduled.

The Twins are back to a five-man rotation after starting the year with four starters because of the off-day on Tuesday. But they're also adjusting to losing right-hander Scott Baker to season-ending elbow surgery.

Right-hander Jason Marquis is scheduled to start for Double-A New Britain on Thursday night, and will rejoin the rotation at some point next week. He could start as early as Tuesday, or the club could decide to give him an extra day of rest and slot him in on Wednesday.

"Marquis pitches tonight, so that will pretty much tell us where we're going to do, and how we do it, see how it lines up and all those things," Gardenhire said. "We're getting in a stretch where we play a few days in a row, so we need the five."

Gardenhire added it will essentially come down to a competition for the fifth spot in the rotation between Swarzak and Hendriks. But Hendriks is the favorite to stay in the rotation because Swarzak has experience in the bullpen and the Twins don't want Hendriks to pitch as a reliever this season.