Scott Baker's Elbow Injury Has Twins Feeling Pain of Their Own

Mikael WiitalaContributor IIIApril 12, 2012

FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 27:  Scott Baker #30 of the Minnesota Twins poses for a portrait on February 27, 2012 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Wednesday's news that Scott Baker will be out six months after elbow surgery to repair the flexor pronator tendon in his right elbow is another setback for a Twins team off to a rocky start.  

Baker, 30, was expected to return to the Twins starting rotation after rehabbing his elbow which became problematic at the end of spring training. 

Now, Baker is likely done for the season and adds another question mark to a Twins pitching staff full of question marks.

Baker's injury likely means that Anthony Swarzak will stay in the starting rotation after having to make an emergency start for Liam Hendriks in Baltimore. Swarzak will join Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Nick Blackburn and Jason Marquis when he becomes available.  

The apparent move from the bullpen for Swarzak puts more stress on a group already trying to find their identity. 

Beyond Matt Capps and Glen Perkins, Swarzak was the only reliever with a defined role out of the bullpen as the long-relief pitcher.  

Without the use of Swarzak as long-reliever and spot starter, it will be interesting to see if the Twins place Brian Duensing back into that role where he was so effective two seasons ago. 

For the starting rotation, losing Baker for the season only amplifies the lack of depth the Twins organization has as a whole at the position. 

With no starting pitchers on the 40 man roster in the minor leagues on the cusp of being ready for the major leagues, the Twins may have to look outside of the organization if any more injuries arise. 

It is highly unlikely the Twins would go after Roy Oswalt, and even more unlikely Oswalt would consider the Twins at this point, but it would not be surprising to see the name Jon Garland start making the rounds somewhere down the line.

Scott Baker's season being over does not mean the Twins season is over, but the margin of error has shrunk considerably. 

Francisco Liriano, Liam Hendriks, Nick Blackburn and Jason Marquis need to join Carl Pavano in consistently pitching six or seven innings in order to keep the pressure off of an already suspect bullpen. 

Other than Hendriks, all of these pitchers have done so in the past and will need to do so again this year for the Twins to have any chance of being relevant in August and September.