FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Samuel Deduno is back in Twins camp after helping to lead the Dominican Republic to the World Baseball Classic title, and said he was originally told he was scheduled to start on Sunday.
But after Friday's game against the Yankees, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the club changed its plans and will start P.J. Walters against the Blue Jays on Sunday instead. He said he'll have an update on Saturday on when Deduno will pitch next.
Deduno started three games for the Dominican Republic in the Classic, and he posted a 0.69 ERA with 17 strikeouts and five walks in 13 innings. He also tossed five scoreless innings to get the win in the championship game against Puerto Rico and made quite the impression on Twins coaches in the process.
Deduno, who is a non-roster invite to Spring Training after posting a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts with the Twins last season, is firmly in the mix for a spot in the rotation along with Liam Hendriks, Cole De Vries and P.J. Walters.
So while Deduno has thrown just one scoreless inning in Grapefruit League play so far, he has no regrets about playing for his country in the Classic, especially considering how well he pitched.
"It was fun," Deduno said. "I was pretty excited. It was pretty good. That was the biggest game I'd ever pitched in my life. Pitching for my country was special, so I was excited."
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.