Diamond upbeat after performance in Class A game

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Left-hander Scott Diamond was impressive in his first outing since undergoing surgery to remove a bone chip from his elbow in December.

Diamond tossed two scoreless innings against Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday at the Twins' Minor League complex. He struck out three and allowed just one hit on a single hit back up the middle.

"Everything felt really good," said Diamond, who threw 23 pitches. "I was actually a little nervous at first because it was my first time off the mound. But everything felt smooth. I was able to keep the ball down and get ahead of hitters, which is kind of my game plan."

Diamond said he was expected to be placed on the disabled list March 22 with the goal of returning April 12, when the Twins host the Mets at Target Field. He said as a result he would continue pitching in the Minor Leagues, even though he wanted to get into a Grapefruit League game.

"It's going to be a little tough [pitching in Minor League games], but at this point I need to keep getting my innings up and keep progressing," Diamond said. "So I just have to focus on what will allow me to be successful in the big leagues."

Mauer maintains Classic momentum at plate

Joe Mauer on Team USA's win over Canada

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins catcher Joe Mauer returned to the lineup for the first time since playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

Mauer, who last played in a Grapefruit League game March 2, went 2-for-3 against the Marlins on Monday at Hammond Stadium. He kept his hot streak at the plate alive, as he batted .429 with two doubles, a triple, two RBIs and five walks in six games with Team USA.

"Mauer, of course, got his knocks," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He always gets his knocks."

Twins closer Glen Perkins also returned to action but pitched in a Minor League game instead. He struck out the side against Double-A Portland. Fellow left-hander Brian Duensing also threw two innings against Portland.

"They were all good," Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said.

Third baseman Trevor Plouffe, who has been out with a strained right calf, is expected to play in a Minor League game Tuesday. He is scheduled to play in Minor League games for three straight days before returning to Grapefruit League play Friday.

Correia still hoping for confidence-building start

Outlook: Correia's low K rate is cause for concern

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Kevin Correia has talked this spring about his desire to have a strong outing before his first regular-season start, but it did not come Tuesday.

Correia did not deliver against the Marlins, as he gave up five runs on five hits and two walks over four innings to see his Grapefruit League ERA increase to 6.46 in five starts.

Correia, though, said he was not worried just yet, as he still had a couple of outings to go before making his regular-season debut with the Twins.

"You start to press a little bit for it, but I have two more before I start the season," Correia said. "But you just want to have one nice one before you get out there so you feel good about yourself. But overall, I feel pretty good about how my arm, my body and my stuff are right now."

Correia fell victim to one bad inning, as he allowed the first six batters he faced in the second to reach base. He blamed it on his struggles pitching from the stretch, as he was able to correct it the next inning when pitching out of the windup and retired six of the last seven batters he faced.

"I was throwing from the stretch, and I think I just got a little caught up in the running game," Correia said. "I was getting quick to the plate, and my arm wasn't catching up, and I was sailing. I walked a few guys, which is not something I normally do. Once I got back to the windup for a hitter, I was right back to where I was."