FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Matt Garza was focused on preparing for the season. Pitching against his old team was no big deal.
Garza worked six innings in the Tampa Bay Rays' 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Monday, allowing three runs and eight hits. He struck out five and walked one.The Twins traded Garza and shortstop Jason Bartlett to the Rays for infielder Brendan Harris and outfielders Delmon Young and Jason Pridie before last season. Garza went 11-9 with a 3.70 ERA with Tampa Bay and was the MVP of the AL championship series."I really didn't think about facing my old team or anything like that," he said. "I felt great. I felt lively."Rays manager Joe Maddon said he enjoyed watching Garza grow in his first season with Tampa Bay. Garza went 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA against the Boston Red Sox during the ALCS."He is one of those starting pitchers who stands in the dugout when he's not pitching and cheers for everybody else," Maddon said. "He'll be one of the first guys to congratulate somebody when they're coming off the field."His confidence is at a very high level right now."Twins left-hander Glen Perkins also is feeling good this spring. He gave up four hits, struck out four and walked one in six shutout innings against Tampa Bay, lowering his spring ERA to 1.73.Assured of a rotation spot entering camp, Perkins worked on certain pitches in his earlier spring outings without worrying about the results. He said the more relaxed approach paid off."I think I timed it well as far as getting my pitches ready," said Perkins, who will have one more Grapefruit League outing before the regular season begins. "I threw a lot of strikes and pitched well."I've got one more to get ready for the season, but I pretty much feel ready right now. There's always a little thing you can do or work on. They all count in different ways. I hopefully can get another confidence boost and take it into the season."Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he likely would finalize his bullpen Tuesday.Left-hander Brian Duensing yielded a two-run homer to Carlos Pena in the eighth inning."He got a little fastball happy," Gardenhire said of Duensing, who has still had a solid spring with a 1.93 ERA.
Gardenhire said there is no timetable for C Joe Mauer's return but that he seemed to be improving. Mauer remains out with inflammation in his lower back. "He's moving around really good," Gardenhire said. "That's kind of nice. He has a smile on his face, which he hasn't had in a long time." ... The Rays released INF Morgan Ensberg. Ensberg, an All-Star in 2005 with the Houston Astros, hit .227 with four RBIs this spring.