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Baker pushed back by flu

Baker pushed back by flu

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Scott Baker's case of the flu has pushed back his next start until at least this weekend, and that delay could impact the look of the Twins' rotation to start the season.

Baker was unable to make it to the ballpark on Tuesday morning to throw his scheduled bullpen. It was the second straight day that Baker had to push back the session due to the illness.

It's yet another delay for the right-hander, who has not thrown in a game since March 8. He left that start after just two innings with a strained back muscle.

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Since his last start, Baker has thrown just one light bullpen session. It has prevented the pitcher from being able to stretch out as normal. Right now, his pitch count is at about 50, and the hope is that he could reach about 80-85 pitches by the start of the season.

But whether Baker can get to that mark remains unknown. By pushing back his bullpen session, Baker will not be able to start in a Minor League contest on Thursday as the club had originally planned. His bullpen likely won't even take place until then, as the team has an off-day Wednesday.

Baker had been expected to get the second starting spot behind Opening Day starter Livan Hernandez. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire acknowledged Tuesday that the team might start having to make adjustments depending on how Baker fares during his next bullpen session.

"It's been a bit of a slowdown process," Gardenhire said. "Whether we're going to get him to the point where he'll be able to start ballgames up in Minnesota or we have to wait a couple weeks, that's what we have to look at here."

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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