CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Scott Baker threw a light bullpen session on Saturday morning and reported no soreness in his strained lat muscle. The right-hander is now scheduled to throw a regular bullpen session early in the week and if all goes well in that session, he could make a start in a Minor League contest by mid-week. Baker was limited to just two innings in his last start on March 8 due to the strained muscle. He has pitched a total of seven innings this spring (four of those have come in official Grapefruit League games). Baker's longest outing has consisted of him throwing three innings, which came in a "B" game against the Red Sox.
Despite Baker's inability to stretch out yet this spring, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has said he's still optimistic that the right-hander will be ready to be in the rotation at the start of the year. Pitching coach Rick Anderson was not on hand to watch Baker nor was he on the trip with the Twins. It's the second straight day Anderson has been absent from work due to a case of the flu. In other injury news, Jesse Crain (bruised right knee) also reported feeling much better on Saturday morning. The Twins training staff said the right-hander is expected to pitch in Sunday's game against the Blue Jays.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.