Twins 4, Orioles 3(7)

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts tested his ailing back in a game for the first time this spring on Friday night.

Although the two-time All-Star showed no sign of injury, his swing is obviously in need of repair.

Roberts went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts in Baltimore's 4-3 loss to the Minnesota Twins. He spent the previous six weeks at camp receiving treatment and doing exercises to ease the pain of a herniated disk in his lower back.

"My body, it felt pretty good," he said after his six-inning stint.

And his swing?

"Obviously not stellar," Roberts said. "My last at-bat, actually I started to finally feel a lot more comfortable in the box. My first two, I was pretty clueless."

Despite his struggle at the plate, Roberts played flawlessly in the field and has no doubt he will be in the opening-day lineup against Tampa Bay on April 6.

"Not at this point," he said. "Obviously if I wake up tomorrow and can't get out of bed, but as of right now, no."

Manager Dave Trembley said: "I had every reason to believe he would be ready April 6, and there's nothing that has changed my mind. Tonight was just the first step in making that a reality."

All three strikeouts came against Scott Baker, who will pitch for Minnesota on opening day. Baker retired his first 13 batters and gave up two runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Baker is 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA this spring.

"Physically I feel great and mentally, everything is where it needs to be," he said. "Results, you can read into them as much as you want to. Obviously it feels good to have good outings. I know how I'm throwing the ball regardless of the results, so yeah, I'm feeling good."

Manager Ron Gardenhire said: "Baker's stepping up and really turning into a pretty good pitcher in this league. It's fun to watch."

Game notes
The Orioles sent nine players to the minors: INFs Josh Bell, Rhyne Hughes, Brandon Snyder, Pedro Florimon and Michael Aubrey; pitchers Frank Mata, Josh Perrault and Dennis Sarfate; and OF Jonathan Tucker. The moves leaves 37 players in camp. ... The Twins have set their rotation for the first four games. Baker will be followed by Nick Blackburn, Carl Pavano and Kevin Slowey. They're still deciding who to put at No. 5.