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Odorizzi pumped for first Opening Day start

Lynn excels in outing; Aybar opts out of contract with Twins
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Jake Odorizzi is one of the newest additions to the Twins, acquired in a trade with the Rays on Feb. 17, but he'll get the honor of starting Opening Day against the Orioles on Thursday at Camden Yards in Baltimore, and he's excited for the opportunity.

This will be Odorizzi's seventh season in the Majors after five with the Rays and one with the Royals, but his first time getting the nod for a regular-season opener. He'll be the fifth Twins pitcher to start on Opening Day in his Minnesota debut, joining Ricky Nolasco (2014), Vance Worley ('13), Livan Hernandez ('08) and Jack Morris (1991).

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Jake Odorizzi is one of the newest additions to the Twins, acquired in a trade with the Rays on Feb. 17, but he'll get the honor of starting Opening Day against the Orioles on Thursday at Camden Yards in Baltimore, and he's excited for the opportunity.

This will be Odorizzi's seventh season in the Majors after five with the Rays and one with the Royals, but his first time getting the nod for a regular-season opener. He'll be the fifth Twins pitcher to start on Opening Day in his Minnesota debut, joining Ricky Nolasco (2014), Vance Worley ('13), Livan Hernandez ('08) and Jack Morris (1991).

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"It's really tough to put into words," Odorizzi said. "I try not to make a big deal out of it, that's how I view it. You make your debut at some point. It's special to come here, especially as late as I did, and to have the confidence kind of bestowed on me to go out there on Game 1."

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Odorizzi, who turns 28 on Tuesday, had a 4.14 ERA with 127 strikeouts, 61 walks and 30 homers allowed in 143 1/3 innings with the Rays last year. But he dealt with back issues throughout the season that limited his effectiveness, and said he believes that injury is behind him. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA and he guessed that's why the Twins turned to him on Opening Day.

"I honestly can't say why, but hopefully my track record, trying to be the best I can," Odorizzi said. "I've seen the Orioles a lot, so maybe there's a level of comfort as well. It's something that's cool, but it's not my choice. They tell me when I'm throwing and it just happens to be the first game. I'm prepared and I'm ready to go."

Video: PHI@MIN: Odorizzi strikes out Crawford swinging

Having pitched in the American League East for five seasons, Odorizzi has 18 career appearances (17 starts) against the Orioles, posting a 4.71 ERA with 75 strikeouts, 27 walks and 20 homers surrendered in 85 innings. He fared well against Baltimore last year, going 2-0 with a 3.10 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 20 1/3 innings.

While Odorizzi remains on schedule to start on Opening Day in terms of rest, the Twins are going to avoid starting him against Baltimore in Sarasota on Saturday night. He'll pitch in a Minor League game instead for his final tune-up of the spring.

Lynn sharp
Right-hander Lance Lynn made his final Grapefruit League start on Friday in the Twins' 2-2 tie against the Astros, allowing one run on two hits and a walk over four innings with five strikeouts. He'll remain in Florida to make one more start on the Minor League side to be further stretched out for his first start as the club's fourth starter on April 2 against the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

Video: HOU@MIN: Lynn K's five over four strong innings

"When you look at camp ending Sunday, I'm a little behind there, but I'm going to be able to get right up to where I need to be before the season," Lynn said. "I'll get another [start] in so I'll be all right."

Aybar opts out
Shortstop Erick Aybar left Twins camp on Friday after he was told he's not going to make the 25-man roster. Aybar, who is now a free agent, had the ability to opt out of his Minor League contract on Friday and exercised that opt-out. It leaves the Twins with 33 healthy players in camp.

LaMarre breaks up no-no
Non-roster outfielder Ryan LaMarre continued his impressive Spring Training, breaking up Houston's no-hit bid in the ninth with a leadoff double to right field off right-hander Trent Thornton. LaMarre is hitting .486 (17-for-35) this spring, but is considered a long-shot to make the roster over fellow backup outfielders Robbie Grossman and Zack Granite.

Video: HOU@MIN: LaMarre breaks up no-hitter in the 9th

Injury updates
Eddie Rosario continues to make progress with his right triceps tendonitis and started in left field against the Astros on Friday. It was his second start in the outfield in a Grapefruit League game since suffering the injury in early March. But he should be ready for Opening Day. He went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Houston.

Right-hander Trevor May, who is coming off Tommy John surgery he underwent last March, threw a 50-pitch bullpen session on Friday, using all of his pitch types. He's scheduled to face live hitters for the first time in roughly two weeks.

Up next
• After optioning Tyler Duffey to Triple-A Rochester on Thursday, the Twins will go with a bullpen game against the Orioles in Sarasota at 5:05 p.m. CT, on Gameday Audio. Lefty Gabriel Moya, who is competing for the final spot in the bullpen with Rule 5 Draft pick Tyler Kinley, will get the start in perhaps his last chance to make an impression on the front office and coaching staff. Moya has a 0.90 ERA this spring.

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Minnesota Twins, Erick Aybar, Jake Odorizzi