Hendriks picks up steam in strong outing

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Liam Hendriks came away pleased with his outing against the Orioles on Thursday, after he tossed three scoreless innings at Hammond Stadium.

Hendriks, in his second spring outing, improved his ERA to 1.80 ERA in Grapefruit League play by giving up just four hits. He's competing for a spot in the rotation after making 16 starts with a 5.59 ERA with the Twins and a 2.20 ERA in 16 starts at Triple-A Rochester last year.

"Good results are definitely nice, but sometimes you're trying to work on stuff, and today they both went hand in hand," Hendriks said. "So I think if I can execute the stuff I'm working on, I will do well. And today I felt pretty good about that and executed my game plan. It was good to get that three-inning [start] out of the way after not feeling so great in the second inning last time."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire liked what he saw from Hendriks, who worked at a much better pace in his second outing.

"He was good," Gardenhire said. "He threw the ball well. He rushed a couple pitches here and there, but he settled in there and got his breaking ball where he wanted to. He got the outs when he had to and his pace was much better."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.