MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire set his starting rotation for this weekend's three-game series against the Rangers, as right-hander Anthony Swarzak will start Friday and will be followed by right-handers Nick Blackburn and Liam Hendriks.
Swarzak was expected to get the nod on Friday after starting in place of Hendriks last Sunday, as Hendriks was sidelined with food poisoning. But Hendriks is feeling better and threw his bullpen without any issues on Wednesday, and will get his first start of the season exactly a week later than originally scheduled.
The Twins are back to a five-man rotation after starting the year with four starters because of the off-day on Tuesday. But they're also adjusting to losing right-hander Scott Baker to season-ending elbow surgery.
Right-hander Jason Marquis is scheduled to start for Double-A New Britain on Thursday night, and will rejoin the rotation at some point next week. He could start as early as Tuesday, or the club could decide to give him an extra day of rest and slot him in on Wednesday.
"Marquis pitches tonight, so that will pretty much tell us where we're going to do, and how we do it, see how it lines up and all those things," Gardenhire said. "We're getting in a stretch where we play a few days in a row, so we need the five."
Gardenhire added it will essentially come down to a competition for the fifth spot in the rotation between Swarzak and Hendriks. But Hendriks is the favorite to stay in the rotation because Swarzak has experience in the bullpen and the Twins don't want Hendriks to pitch as a reliever this season.
Mauer back behind the plate for finale
MINNEAPOLIS -- After starting at catcher in Wednesday's 6-5 win over the Angels, Joe Mauer was back behind the plate on Thursday with left-hander Francisco Liriano on the mound.
It marked the first time Mauer caught in a day game after a night game, which was a rare occurrence last season, when he started just 47 games at catcher due to various injuries and ailments.
Mauer responded with a big day in the Twins' 10-9 comeback win over the Angels, going 3-for-5 with a home run, three RBIs and two runs.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Mauer is feeling so good that he didn't even bother consulting Mauer when writing his name in the lineup.
"I didn't ask," Gardenhire said with a smile.
Gardenhire also kept Chris Parmelee in at first base and moved him up a few spots to the No. 6 hole behind Josh Willingham. Ben Revere also made his third start in right field.
Gardenhire said he's been impressed with Parmelee, who had a two-run triple in the seventh inning that helped key the Twins' win on Wednesday. He benched Parmelee with a left-hander on the mound on Monday, but said he responded well after the off-day on Tuesday.
"I definitely want Parmelee in the lineup as much as I possibly can," Gardenhire said. "I thought at the end of spring, we had a long spring, he played a lot of games and had a lot of at-bats, maybe he got worn out at the end. I don't know if that had anything to do with it, but the kid can hit."
Waldrop's rehab going according to plan
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins reliever Kyle Waldrop, on the disabled list with a right elbow strain, threw from 120 feet on Thursday, and is scheduled to throw his first bullpen on Sunday.
Waldrop is slated to throw from 120 feet again on Friday. He said everything is going to plan so far, though there isn't a timetable for his return just yet.
"Everything feels good and I'm still on pace to throw a bullpen on Sunday," Waldrop said. "Everything is moving in the right direction. So we'll take it a day at a time, but it's going well so far."
Waldrop said the MRI taken on his elbow during Spring Training showed inflammation and a minor strain in his ulnar collateral ligament. But he said the inflammation went away and his UCL feels better after not throwing for more than two weeks.
"I haven't had any issues with that," Waldrop said. "I feel pretty good. We took some time off and did some strengthening exercises around the UCL. We tried to take some time off from using the ligament to let it heal itself. So is everything is working as planned so far."