Twins make changes regarding rotation for 2013

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Kevin Correia made his sixth start of the spring on Saturday against the Rays, and said he's ready for the regular season to begin after a long Spring Training because of the World Baseball Classic.

Correia matched his longest outing of the spring, going 4 2/3 innings, and gave up four runs (three earned) on five hits and three walks. He's scheduled to make his final start on Thursday against the Red Sox.

He said he's not worried about his numbers this spring -- he has a 6.30 ERA in 20 innings -- because he's historically struggled in Spring Training. He had a 7.71 ERA in Grapefruit League play with the Pirates last season but posted a 4.21 ERA during the regular season.

"At this point, I'm ready to start the season," Correia said. "It'll be nice to go into my last start and treat it like a real start in the season and see how I feel."

Correia said he still hasn't been told where he'll be slotted in the rotation to open the season. The Twins have yet to announce their starters for their opening series against the Tigers at Target Field.

Gardenhire has several possibilities to bat second

MIN@NYY: Hicks doubles in the third

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- When the Twins traded Denard Span and Ben Revere this offseason, they not only lost their starting center and right fielders but also their leadoff and No. 2 hitters.

Minnesota is set to replace Span in center field with either top prospect Aaron Hicks -- who is the heavy favorite with a little more than a week left in camp -- or Darin Mastroianni, and whoever wins that battle will bat leadoff.

And with Chris Parmelee, who figures to hit seventh in the lineup, taking over in right field, the Twins are trying to decide who will bat second in 2013.

Second baseman Brian Dozier has been getting a look as a No. 2 possibility this spring, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he still hasn't officially decided how his lineup will shake out on Opening Day.

"I've always thought that No. 2 hitters have to take pitches a little bit and have to protect the runner on base while also being an on-base guy, too, so that the number three, four and five guys have an opportunity," Gardenhire said. "He has to bunt and all those things and get the guy over. Like leadoff gets on, steals second and then shoot the ball the other way to get him over for the other guys."

Gardenhire added that he works with a statistician to help him come up with the lineup, but joked that the computer says Joe Mauer should bat first, second and third in the order. He said it's not out of the question that Mauer hits second, but that he prefers him in the three hole.

"People say they want Joe Mauer batting second, but do you really want him coming up with a man on second base and shooting them the other way?" Gardenhire asked. "I don't know about that. That's not his game. But hitting is his game, so he can do it, so I've looked at it."

Dozier is currently the top candidate to hit second but posted just a .234 batting average with a .271 on-base percentage in 84 games as a Rookie last year. Gardenhire feels Dozier can improve those totals, as he had a .370 OBP in four seasons in the Minors.

"I'm comfortable with Dozier right there," Gardenhire said. "He's been swinging good. He's been having good at-bats. He can handle the bat. We can see how it goes. I'm seeing better at-bats. He's a swinger, but he has the chance to have a better on-base percentage."

Deduno scratched Sunday, may not be ready for season

PUR@DOM: Deduno strikes out five in scoreless start

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Right-hander Samuel Deduno was scratched from his scheduled start against the Blue Jays on Sunday because of groin tightness, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire announced Saturday.

Deduno originally felt the tightness while pitching in the championship game of the World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic on Tuesday.

He thought the injury was minor, as he was still able to throw five scoreless innings to help lead the Dominican Republic to the title, but felt it while throwing a bullpen session on Thursday.

Gardenhire said there is no timetable for Deduno's return and that right-hander P.J. Walters will start in his place against Toronto on Sunday.

"We have to wait until he's healthy," Gardenhire said. "We don't have a plan until he gets back on the mound. He has some groin tightness. We put him on the mound, but he said he felt something at the World games so we're just biding our time now."

Deduno was a candidate to be part of the club's starting rotation, especially after he posted a 0.69 ERA with 17 strikeouts and five walks in 13 innings in the Classic.

But now it appears that the non-roster invitee will have trouble being ready for the season. Other candidates for the back end of the rotation include Liam Hendriks, Cole De Vries and Walters.

"He didn't think it was a big deal, but it is a big deal because you can't start with that," Gardenhire said. "So now we're on hold until he gets back off that. It kind of makes us ad lib a little bit."

Worth noting

• Left-hander Scott Diamond, who had a bone chip removed from his left elbow in December, made his second Minor League start on Saturday. Diamond threw three innings, allowing three runs on five hits, against Triple-A Pawtucket. He's currently on the 15-day disabled list but remains on track to rejoin the rotation on April 12.

• Closer Glen Perkins tossed a scoreless inning against the Rays on Saturday in his first Grapefruit League outing since March 3. Perkins left camp to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic and pitched in two Minor League games this week before returning to Grapefruit League action.