Diamond still in running for final rotation spot

Diamond still in running for final rotation spot

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Scott Diamond remains in the mix for the fifth spot in the rotation but knows he has to put together better performances than his last two outings.

In his last two appearances, the left-hander has allowed seven runs (three earned) on eight hits and three walks over four innings. His latest outing came on Tuesday, when he gave up two runs on four hits in two innings against the Rays. He gave up only singles in his outing on Tuesday with the runs scoring on a sacrifice fly and an RBI groundout.

"It's the fastball control right now," Diamond said. "I'm not getting pounded, and that's the frustrating thing. I need to change my approach a little bit. I need to be a little bit more aggressive. I'm still leaving balls up in the zone."

Diamond, who is out of Minor League options, is competing for the final spot in the rotation along with Samuel Deduno, Vance Worley and Kyle Gibson, with Deduno as the slight favorite.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said it's still early in camp but that he wants to see more from Diamond, who posted a 3.54 ERA in 27 starts as a rookie in 2012 before posting a 5.43 ERA in 24 starts last season.

"He has to throw it over and make quality pitches and it's still not there yet," Gardenhire said. "It's a work in progress. We'll see how it goes. Like I say, it's up to them and they have to make the most of it."

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.