MINNEAPOLIS -- When Joe Nathan arrived at Target Field on Friday, he said he felt like he was walking into the wrong door when he went into the visitor clubhouse.
But Nathan was in the right place, as after eight years with the Twins, he's now the closer for the Rangers after signing a two-year deal worth $14.75 million during the offseason. Nathan, though, said he was happy to be back in Minnesota to see his former teammates and coaches.
"It's exciting," Nathan said. "I got a chance to go over and say hello to everybody. I miss these guys for sure. This place was very good to me for a long time so it's nice to be back, for sure."
Nathan established himself as one of the best closers in the game during his time with the Twins, posting a 2.16 ERA with a team-record 260 saves over seven seasons, as he missed all of 2010 after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
He was acquired by the Twins in a trade that also brought left-hander Francisco Liriano from San Francisco, and Nathan said he'll always be grateful for the chance he had to serve as closer in Minnesota.
"They basically got my career to where I am now," said Nathan, who has a 9.00 ERA in four outings this year. "I have nothing but good thoughts when I think about Minnesota, when I think about this stadium, the dome and the fans here. A lot of people treated me and my family very well while we were here and I appreciate all of it."
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire also was excited to see Nathan, especially because of all he accomplished on and off the field while with the Twins.
"He did it for us a long time, took the ball, gave us everything he had, great clubhouse guy, great presence in the community," Gardenhire said. "It was everything that we like to see out of a baseball player. He handled himself pretty well. Plus he was pretty good when he got the ball in the ninth."
Marquis eyes return to rotation Wednesday
MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Jason Marquis fared well in his start with Double-A New Britain on Thursday and is tentatively scheduled to rejoin the Twins rotation on Wednesday against the Yankees.
Marquis, making his second start with New Britain, allowed just two runs on five hits over eight innings. He had a late start to the season because he missed two weeks in Spring Training tending to his 7-year-old daughter, Reese, who was seriously injured in a bicycle crash.
But Marquis' daughter is doing better, and he's on schedule to make his first start of the year in his home state of New York.
"Everything was crisp," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He'll throw a side session at home, stay with his daughter and meet us Monday and maybe throw for us Wednesday in New York. That's the tentative plan right now, if everything continues on."
When Marquis joins the rotation, right-hander Anthony Swarzak is expected to be moved back to the bullpen with right-hander Liam Hendriks remaining a starter. Hendriks, who missed his first start of the year with food poisoning, is scheduled to start Sunday against the Rangers.
Baker to undergo elbow surgery Tuesday
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins announced the date of Scott Baker's season-ending elbow surgery, as he'll have the procedure done by Dr. David Altchek in New York on Tuesday.
Baker and general manager Terry Ryan had said on Wednesday that Baker would miss the season with elbow surgery but didn't have a date sate for the operation until Friday.
The surgery will clean up scar tissue around Baker's elbow and repair his flexor pronator tendon. The recovery time is expected to be six months.
Altchek also performed Tommy John surgery on former Twins closer Joe Nathan and top pitching prospect Kyle Gibson.
Gardenhire tweaks lineup for matchup vs. lefty
MINNEAPOLIS -- With left-hander Matt Harrison on the mound for the Rangers on Friday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire stacked his lineup with right-handed bats.
Trevor Plouffe started in right field over Ben Revere while Luke Hughes made the start at second base instead of Alexi Casilla. Joe Mauer also shifted to first base to give switch-hitter Ryan Doumit the chance to get in the lineup and catch right-hander Anthony Swarzak.
Gardenhire said that he hopes that benching the switch-hitting Casilla, who is batting just .143 this year, in favor of Hughes will help get Casilla going. Casilla is a noted slow starter, as he has a career .182 batting average in April.
"Right now, he's a little sloppy," Gardenhire said. "He's a little long with his swing. Maybe he's trying to do too much, maybe that's it. He's been a little sloppy out in the field, too. Maybe you just have to kick him in the butt enough to where we can get him going. So maybe sitting him every once in a while will get him going, so we'll see."