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Duensing back to showcase wares

Duensing back to showcase wares

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MINNEAPOLIS -- Brian Duensing didn't get much of a chance to make an impression with the Twins when he made the team out of Spring Training.

Duensing's first Major League stint lasted just a little over a week before he was sent down to Triple-A Rochester to make room for Scott Baker's return to the roster.

During his short time in Minnesota, Duensing made just one relief appearance when he gave up two runs on two hits over three innings on April 10 in Chicago.

But now Duensing is getting another chance in the big leagues after he was called up by the Twins on Thursday. The club optioned left-hander Sean Henn to Rochester to make room for Duensing on the roster.

This time, Duensing said he hopes he'll be able to show the team a little more of what he can do.

"I've just got to try to stay up here for more than nine days," Duensing said with a laugh.

It didn't take long for Duensing to get back on the mound for Minnesota.

After Kevin Slowey lasted just three innings in his start on Friday night against the Tigers, the Twins turned to Duensing. The left-hander threw 3 2/3 innings, allowing one run on one hit while walking one and striking out two.

Due to the long outing, Duensing will likely be unavailable for Saturday's contest against the Tigers, which is a FOX Game of the Week.

But don't expect Duensing to be limited to just a long relief role.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said earlier on Friday that in addition to using Duensing, who was starting at Rochester, in a long role, he'll also be an option to face lefties in the sixth or seventh innings.

It's just that it might take some time for Duensing to re-adjust to a relief role before he's used in left-on-left situations.

"We know the first couple times we aren't going to be able to jump him up like all the other guys," Gardenhire said. "We'll have to give him a little extra time. Hopefully we'll be able to do that."

While Henn struggled against lefties -- they were hitting .350 off him -- the Twins hope that Duensing can produce better numbers. Left-handers were hitting just .210 off Duensing during his time in Rochester this season.

"We were told he's been getting lefties and righties out as a starter. He can go both ways with either one," Gardenhire said. "Hopefully he can fill a role for us. We liked him out of Spring Training. We love his arm. He's a great competitor and throws the ball over the plate."

Duensing, who went 4-6 with a 4.66 ERA in 13 starts at Rochester, seems content to pitch in any role that the Twins might hand him. After all, it took some time for the left-hander just to get back to Minnesota, as he watched other pitchers at Rochester get called up ahead of him over the last couple months. But Duensing said he knew that he had some things to work on before he was ready to return.

"I feel like I finally found my arm slot where I feel comfortable," said Duensing, who allowed just one run over eighth innings in his last start for Rochester. "When I first got sent back down, I was throwing terrible. I couldn't locate, everything was up and I gave up a lot of runs, not really giving the team a chance to win. As of lately, I feel like I could throw the ball where I want to, mix pitches and throw the ball inside. [That last start] was probably my best of the year so far. Hopefully I can keep riding that one."

Pitching matchup
MIN: LHP Francisco Liriano (4-8, 5.62 ERA)
Liriano delivered his best start of the season in St. Louis when he held the Cardinals to two runs on four hits over seven innings. The left-hander was finally able to get ground balls in the contest, with 12 of his outs coming on groundouts. Liriano has been struggling to deliver longer outings and his rotation spot was in jeopardy before the start. But now he'll see if he can continue the success when he faces the Tigers in the holiday contest. Liriano is 3-1 with a 4.50 ERA in eight career appearances (six starts) vs. Detroit.

DET: RHP Edwin Jackson (6-4, 2.49 ERA)
Jackson hasn't won in his last four starts, including a no-decision for his seven innings of three-run ball in the Tigers' comeback win Sunday at Houston, but his stinginess is all over the American League leaders. He's second in the AL to Zack Greinke in ERA, second in hits per nine innings, and third in WHIP ratio. Yet his 5.15 runs of support per nine innings as the pitcher of record rank lowest on the Tigers staff and near the low among AL starters. His last outing with more than three earned runs allowed came against the Twins, who put up four seventh-inning runs on him in defeat May 4 at Comerica Park.

Tidbits
Mike Redmond's right forearm was still sore on Friday after taking a foul tip off it in Wednesday's contest at Kansas City. The catcher didn't do much before Friday's game and Gardenhire said it was unlikely he'd be available. ... The Twins have signed two more pick from the 2009 First-Year Player Draft -- 33rd-round pick Nick Freitas, an outfielder from Southern Utah University, and 38th-round pick Pete Kennelly, a right-handed pitcher out of Fordham University. The club has now signed 16 of its 51 picks, but has yet to sign its first-round pick, right-handed pitcher Kyle Gibson. ... Joe Crede's home run vs. Detroit on Friday was his 25th against the club -- the most he's had vs. any opponent.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• FOX

On radio
• TRN 1500

Up next
• Sunday: Twins (Nick Blackburn, 6-4, 3.10) vs. Tigers (Rick Porcello, 8-5, 3.90), 1:10 p.m. CT
• Monday: Off-day
• Tuesday: Twins (Scott Baker, 6-6, 4.99) vs. Yankees (CC Sabathia, 7-5, 3.85), 7:10 p.m. CT

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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