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Wilson recaps first Spring Training with Angels

Scott Baker was supposed to start the Twins' home opener on Monday against the Angels at Target Field. But an elbow injury necessitated a trip to the disabled list last week, meaning manager Ron Gardenhire had to come up with a Plan B.

Plan B, in this case, is right-hander Nick Blackburn, who is coming off a solid Spring Training in which he compiled a 2.12 ERA in 17 innings, while striking out 12 and allowing 11 hits.

Blackburn will be opposed on the mound by left-hander C.J. Wilson, who will be making his first start for the Angels after signing a five-year, $77.5 million contract with the Angels in the offseason.

Blackburn is set to start the season pretty much at the top of his game, Gardenhire said.

"I think in Spring Training the ball was coming out of his hand as good as anybody on our staff," the Twins manager said.

Blackburn, a 6-foot-4, 245-pound right-hander, was 7-10 with a 4.49 ERA during what was a tough season for the Twins in 2011. He is 39-46 for his career with a 4.50 ERA, but feels he is ready to take his performance to another level.

"I think I left Spring Training with a good idea of what I want to do this year," Blackburn said. "I don't see anything stopping me from having a good season."

Wilson was a big cog in the Rangers' back-to-back American League championship teams the past two years, and starts his Angels career with a load of confidence. He was lights out during Spring Training, going 4-0 with a 1.11 ERA in six starts.

"One of the biggest things is my mechanics and making sure I stay consistent," Wilson said. "I made some adjustments in Spring Training. The key is to focus on every time you throw that ball and be consistent."

Angels: Wilson picking up tips
Wilson says he looks to rotation mates Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana as he attempts to improve his pitching arsenal.

"Jered has the best changeup in the league, Dan has a great split-finger and cutter and Ervin's combo of pitches is really good," Wilson said.

Twins: Mourneau ties Killebrew
Justin Morneau's double in the seventh inning on Sunday against the Orioles' Jason Hammel was No. 233 of his career, pushing him past Harmon Killebrew into sole possession of eighth place on the Twins' career list.

Worth noting
• Outfielder Trevor Plouffe is expected to be the final non-pitcher on the Twins roster to get into a game this season with a start against Wilson.

• Sean Burroughs and Luke Hughes saw their first action Sunday against the Orioles. Burroughs started at third base over Danny Valencia, while Hughes started at second instead of Alexi Casilla. Comments