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Thursday, June 1, 2006
Twins send down struggling right-hander Baker

Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins sent struggling right-hander Scott Baker to Triple-A Rochester on Thursday, the second member of their starting rotation to be sent down this season.

Baker, a promising young pitcher who shut down the Yankees earlier this season, was 2-5 with a 6.06 ERA in nine starts. He had trouble keeping his pitches down in the zone and gave up 66 hits in 49 innings. His fate was sealed when he gave up six runs in 4 2/3 innings of a loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.

Baker joins fellow former big leaguer Kyle Lohse in Rochester. Lohse and Baker were the Twins' fourth and fifth starters when the season opened, but haven't been able to show the consistency manager Ron Gardenhire is looking for.

Lohse, whose salary this season is $3.95 million after beating the team in an arbitration hearing for the second straight year, was 2-4 with an 8.92 ERA in eight starts before being sent down. Rookie Boof Bonser took his place.

Carlos Silva is expected to take Baker's spot in the rotation. Silva started the season as the No. 3 starter, but was demoted to the bullpen after starting the season 2-6 with an 8.80 ERA. Silva has been sharp in his last two relief appearances, and Gardenhire has said he'd like to see the sinker-baller back in the mix.

The Twins plan to recall infielder Terry Tiffee from Rochester on Friday. Tiffee is hitting .298 with 12 doubles, two homers and 26 RBI in 49 games with the Red Wings this season.