Carl Pavano to start Twins' opener

Updated: January 25, 2012, 4:33 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire doesn't need spring training to know who his Opening Day starter will be April 6 against the Baltimore Orioles.

Gardenhire told the St. Paul Pioneer Press on Tuesday night that Carl Pavano will start the team's opener.

Carl Pavano
Pavano

"Pavano's going to start the first one," the Twins manager told the newspaper.

Pavano, 36, was 9-13 with a 4.30 ERA for the Twins, who lost 99 games last season to finish last in the AL Central, 32 games behind the Detroit Tigers.

The Pioneer Press reported that Scott Baker will start the team's home opener April 9 against Albert Pujols' Los Angeles Angels.

Gardenhire said he's not sure if first baseman Justin Morneau, whose season was shortened by concussion-related symptoms, will be ready for Opening Day. But the Twins manager said he plans on being creative this season to ensure that Morneau and catcher Joe Mauer -- his two best hitters -- are in the lineup when healthy.

"Whatever it takes to keep (Morneau) and Mauer on the field is what we're going to do. And I don't care what that entails -- if it's Mauer at first and Mornie DH'ing, we're going to do it. Whatever we feel comfortable with is the way we're going to go about our business here.

"These guys want to win. We need them in our lineup to win. That's what we have to do."