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Opening Day Pitching Staff

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After discussing possible lineups and position players on Monday, this morning we'll take a shot or two at how the rest of the 25-man roster will look like.

This week's big revelation is that Boof Bonser is heading for exploratory surgery tomorrow, which could leave a spot open for one of the "outsiders", particularly if the Twins go with their standard 12-man pitching staff instead of a recently-rumored 11-man.  For this exercise, list your eleven "Guarantees" and an additional "12th man", so that we cover all our bases.

Guarantees

There are six non-negotiable spots in my mind, barring a total meltdown or catostrophic injury:  Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn and Glen Perkins as your starters, and Joe Nathan as your closer.

Running down the list of plausible arms for the remaining spots, even with Bonser's absence it's pretty easy to pencil in some names.  Jesse Crain will be on board, as will Matt Guerrier following the Twins' offer of arbitration a couple of weeks ago and their subsequent compromise.  Craig Breslow earned his Alpha Loogy crown after his performance last summer, even though there are other southpaws to choose from.  One of those lefties is Jose Mijares, who should be the second left-hander out of the bullpen after beating Brian Duensing to the role.  This leaves us with one more spot to complete our 11-man pitching staff, and I'll give that spot to Philip Humber as he's out of options and can fill the role of long reliever and spot starter.

12th Man

The 12th Man slot, if it exists, will come down to a competition between 26-year old right-hander Jason Jones and free agent acquisition Luis Ayala, with an outside shot for the aforementioned Duensing.  For any number of reasons, but primarily due to his "veteran" status and what would constitute a follow-through of committment to money spent on a free agent, my 12th Man will be Ayala.

Who's on your list?