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Notes: Baker's start cut short

Notes: Baker's start cut short

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Scott Baker's start against the Pirates on Saturday was cut short due to what he called a "tweaked lat muscle."

Baker said he first felt the injury during his last outing, when he threw three scoreless innings in a "B" game against the Red Sox on Monday.

The right-hander was expected to go at least three innings on Saturday. His first inning went by without any problems. But with temperatures in the low 60s and a stiff breeze making it feel cooler than that, Baker said he felt the muscle stiffen up during his second inning. Baker told pitching coach Rick Anderson about it when he entered the dugout after the inning, and the decision was made to call it a day.

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"I can throw with it, but at this point in Spring Training there is no need to push it," Baker said after his start. "I was throwing fine. I felt good, as far as stuff. It's just never going to get any better if I keep going out there and stretching it out."

The Twins already had backed Baker up a day for his latest start to see if that would help get rid of the discomfort. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said they'll do something similar for Baker's next outing, waiting an extra couple of days before getting him back on the mound.

"He keeps feeling it, and we don't want that continuing on," Gardenhire said.

Baker said he and Anderson determined he should have at least four more starts this spring. So they both agreed there is no need to try to get in additional work right now, but rather to try to let the injury heal.

"If it was another point during the season or whatever, it might be worth it [to continue pitching]," Baker said. "But I was just advised to take it easy. Right now, one more inning does not mean much."

Hip to be square: Mike Lamb will be sidelined for at least a few days due to a sore left hip. The third baseman said he's been dealing with a hip pointer for the past couple of days that he suffered after diving for balls in the infield.

Lamb said the injury flared up on a swing he took during the sixth inning of Friday's contest against Boston. While he's taking some time off to let the hip heal, the injury is nothing Lamb considers serious.

"It's still early, so I'm just going to take a couple days and get some rest," Lamb said.

The injury may be keeping Lamb off the field for the time being, but it certainly hasn't affected his humor.

"Actually my family is coming in for a couple days, so I just thought I'd take some time off," Lamb joked.

Wind havoc: It was a blustery day at McKechnie Field on Saturday during the Twins' 8-4 victory, with wind gusts reaching 20-25 mph at the start of the game. That made for quite a few entertaining defensive plays in the field.

One came in the first inning, when Baker got Nate McLouth to hit a high popup. It first appeared to be headed straight for third baseman Brian Buscher -- or the grandstands. But with the wind blowing sharply from left field to right field, instead the ball wound up right over top of the pitching mound.

Shortstop Matt Tolbert was tracking the ball, but just as he was about to catch it, he collided with first baseman Justin Morneau. Baker said he heard the collision a few feet away as the top of Tolbert's head struck Morneau's chin.

Morneau didn't really appear to be shaken up on the play, but Gardenhire ran out to check on the shortstop. Tolbert wouldn't even look at his manager as he waved him off and remained in the game.

"He's fine, but his eye black was knocked off his eye," Gardenhire said. "He had two eye blacks, and he only had one when he got back in the dugout. I think it was on Morneau's shirt."

Cuts coming: Gardenhire confirmed again before Saturday's contest that the Twins will issue their first round of cuts on Sunday. The roster reduction is expected to be a fairly significant number, helping get the team to a better working number of players.

Twins tidbits: Craig Monroe hit his second home run of the spring on Saturday, the day after belting his first against the Red Sox. Despite missing nearly a week of games with a strained muscle in his lower left leg, Monroe is hitting .400 for the spring. ... Jason Kubel belted his first homer of the spring in the third inning.

Up next: The Twins will host the Yankees in a 12:05 p.m. CT contest at Hammond Stadium on Sunday. The game is one of five that will be televised in the Twin Cities on FSN North. Right-hander Boof Bonser will make his third start of the spring as he faces off against New York right-hander Phil Hughes.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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