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Scott Baker needs elbow surgery, out for season

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer
Twins starting pitcher Scott Baker will miss the entire 2012 season, as he's going to undergo surgery on his right elbow to repair his damaged flexor pronator tendon. He'll require six months of rehab. The information was presented to reporters at a press conference in Target Field Wednesday afternoon (via MLB.com on Twitter).

Baker has dealt with elbow issues through much of the recent past. He was shut down during spring training with elbow tenderness and then last Thursday could not continue during a minor-league rehab appearance due to the elbow tightening.

Without Baker, the Twins' rotation this season looks to be: Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Liam Hendriks, Jason Marquis and Nick Blackburn, with Anthony Swarzak as needed.

Baker, 30, is quite effective when he's actually healthy. Last season he was 8-6 with a 3.14 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 123 strikeouts in 134 2/3 innings. Of course, he only made 21 starts, as he missed time in July, August and September with injuries.

Baker's contract expires after this season, unless the Twins pick up his $9.25 million club option for 2013, so it's possible this surgery ends his Twins career.

For the Twins, it's more of the same. They won the AL Central in six of nine seasons before injuries, underperformance and inconsistency made them a 63-99 last place team in 2011. They've opened 2012 0-4 and now lose potentially their best starting pitcher before he even makes a single start.

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