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Pavano Hit Hard By Former Team, Twins Win

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Outfielder Michael Cuddyer #5 of the Minnesota Twins poses for a photo during photo day at Hammond Stadium on February 25, 2011 in Fort Myers, Florida. (credit: J. Meric/Getty Images)

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FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Losing to his former team wasn’t on the list of reasons why Carl Pavano was unhappy with his outing Sunday.

Pavano had his worst outing of spring training, giving up five runs to the New York Yankees, but the Minnesota Twins still won, 7-6.

Pavano, slated to start on opening day for the Twins, took a 0.95 ERA into the game against the team he won only nine games for in four injury plagued seasons. He gave up five runs — four earned — and 11 hits in six innings. Pavano walked one and struck out four.

“You have starts like this,” Pavano said. “It’s all about being healthy. Obviously the results aren’t what I would like to see, but up to this point I’ve been pretty consistent. I just expect more out of myself.”

Robinson Cano hit a slo homer off Pavano in the first inning. It was Cano’s second homer of the spring.
“It was just one of those days where it was a battle,” Pavano said.

Since joining the Twins in an August 2009 trade with Cleveland, Pavano has paved his way to becoming an opening day starter again.

“He’s resurrected his career,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He has pitched well for the Twins. He’s given them innings. When we’ve faced him in the playoffs, he has pitched well.

“The guy knows how to pitch,” Girardi continued. “The big thing for Carl is that he has been healthy.”

Pavano went 17-11 with a 3.75 ERA last season, his best season since going 18-8 with a 3.00 ERA for the Florida Marlins in 2004.

The Twins named Pavano their opening day starter early in camp. He will pitch Friday in Toronto.

“It’s exciting,” Pavano said. “It’s nice to be rewarded for the season I had last year. They rewarded me in a couple of ways. They gave me a long-term deal (through 2012), and they put the ball in my hand on opening day.

Mark Teixeira went 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs for the Yankees. Alex Rodriguez went 0 for 2 with a strikeout.

Twins right fielder Michael Cuddyer hit a solo homer, his first this spring.

Twins designated hitter Jim Thome went 2 for 2 with his first homer of this spring.

Matt Tolbert, who learned he would make the Twins over Luke Hughes as a utility infielder, had a triple and two RBIs.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire also decided on his bullpen, but not a closer — he’s still deciding between Joe Nathan and Matt Capps.

But Dusty Hughes, Jose Mijares, Jeff Manship, Glen Perkins and Kevin Slowey will comprise the rest of the relief corps.

“We’re trying to mix and match and get comfortable,” Gardenhire said. “We’ll see how it works. If it doesn’t, and we don’t like it, we’ll be replacing those people.

“I’ll have a better feel for it once we get into the season. We’ll have a way better feel for how we’re going to work things out,” he said. “You can’t play game situations down here. It’s too hard. You’re playing against No. 99. It’s just too hard. It’ll be a lot easier to get a better feel for our bullpen once the season begins.”

NOTES: Rodriguez met 12-year-old Julianne Ramirez, the girl he invited to Sunday’s game after learning she saved a friend who was drowning last summer. “It’s amazing how courageous she was,” A-Rod said. “Sometimes we don’t give kids the credit they deserve. They’re very smart and very intuitive.” … Yankees CF Curtis Granderson, out with a strained muscle in his right side, will take batting practice Monday. His status for opening day has not been determined. … The Houston Astros returned left-hander Lance Pendleton, a Rule 5 winter draft pick, to the Yankees. New York assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. … Twins left-hander Scott Diamond, taken from Atlanta in the Rule 5 Draft, will not break camp with the Twins, Gardenhire said. Either the Twins would try and trade him, or he would be offered back to the Braves. … The Twins optioned RHPs Jim Hoey and Anthony Slama and INF Luke Hughes to Triple-A Rochester.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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