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Gibson eases through first live batting practice

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Pitching prospect Kyle Gibson, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, threw live batting practice to hitters for the first time this spring on Tuesday.

Gibson, who is competing for a spot in the rotation after undergoing the surgery in September 2011, said everything went well. It was the first time he'd faced hitters since pitching in the Arizona Fall League last year.

"Any time you can go out there and work on your command and face guys who want to hit the ball hard is always good," said Gibson, who threw 32 pitches, including eight sliders. "It's good to face guys before games because I still have some things I'm trying to work on."

Gibson said he feels healthy and will continue on the same schedule as the rest of the pitchers in camp. He was able to get several swings and misses despite telling hitters what was coming because he was using the protective L-screen.

"It's still early for them, too, so I'm not going to read too much into that," Gibson said. "I'll wait until I get into a game. It's probably the first time those guys have seen me throw."

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire watched the live bullpen session, and came away impressed with the way Gibson looked while facing Joe Benson, Brian Dinkelman and Eric Fryer.

"He was good," Gardenhire said. "Nice angle, the ball goes down. Don't know if he was missing the strike zone a little, he was still down around the knees. It was nice to see. Nice breaking ball. I like the way he's got good mechanics, doesn't alter them too awful much."

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