FORT MYERS, Fla. -- After emerging as the Twins' best starter in 2012, left-hander Scott Diamond figured to enter Spring Training as the favorite to be the club's Opening Day starter against the Tigers on April 1 at Target Field.
But Diamond had a bone chip removed from his left elbow in December and said on Tuesday that there's still a chance he won't be ready for the start of the season. He threw from 120 feet on Tuesday and is expected to progress to 150 feet on Friday before throwing his first bullpen session next week.
"It's tough to say right now, because of the way the arm feels," Diamond said. "We're still taking it pretty slow. So it's going to be pretty tight toward Opening Day. But I think a lot of it will do with how I do when I throw off the mound for the first time. If everything is going well and the mechanics feel smooth, I think that will really project how it'll be Opening Day. But right now, it's in limbo."
Diamond, 26, was a pleasant surprise last season, leading the staff with 12 wins and a 3.54 ERA in 27 starts. He said it's still his goal to pitch on Opening Day, but he's not going to force the issue if he's not ready.
"That's the battle right now, mentally," Diamond said. "It's something you dream about. But it's a long season, and if that's what we have to do, I'll just bite my tongue and do it."