PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- After his last scheduled outing was washed out due to rain, right-hander Ricky Nolasco made his second Grapefruit League start for the Twins against the Rays on Tuesday.
Nolasco, who threw a simulated game on Thursday to stay on his normal rest, tossed four innings, giving up two runs on four hits with one strikeout. He now has a 3.00 ERA in six innings this spring.
"It felt good to go back out there in a game and get some of that adrenaline," Nolasco said. "Everything feels great. I felt like I got a lot out of [the simulated game]. We didn't want to mess up the rotation in between or skip a bullpen or anything like that. So it went good and so did today."
Nolasco added that one of the things he tried to mix into Tuesday's start was throwing first-pitch breaking balls now that he's stretched out more.
"It's just something I have to work on in spring," Nolasco said. "It's a big part of my game. I wanted to mix things up. I was able to do that going four innings. It's a little tougher to do that going two innings."
Nolasco is expected to be the club's Opening Day starter, although Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has yet to make it official. But the skipper has been impressed by Nolasco, who signed a four-year, $49 million deal this offseason.
"He just knows what he's doing," Gardenhire said. "He goes about his business pretty good. He's pretty tough out there on the mound. You can tell he doesn't like to [mess] around too awful much. He goes right at them, uses his pitches, knows how to add and subtract, all those things that you hope when you brought him over here."
Arcia, Hicks stay home for precautionary reasons
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Outfielders Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia were both held out of the Twins' lineup again on Tuesday, but are expected to return to action on Wednesday against the Pirates at Hammond Stadium.
Hicks, who has been dealing with elbow discomfort while swinging the bat since Thursday, took soft toss in the cage Tuesday morning without any issues. Hicks hasn't played in a game since March 4.
"He's doing soft-toss flips and a full workout, and the report I got said he did not have any problems swinging today," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said.
Arcia has been bothered by what he believes is food poisoning since Thursday, and he felt sick again during workouts on Sunday. Arcia, who also hasn't played since March 4, is feeling better now, but the Twins didn't want to bring him on a road trip, just to be safe.
"He came in and felt good, but they wanted him to stay back and get in a full workout rather than go out on the road and be on the bus and have problems," Antony said. "So it's just an extra day. He's just getting his work in over there and is fine."
Both players were originally expected to return to the lineup on Tuesday, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wanted to be cautious with both.
"Hicks and Arcia both stayed home because I can't take a chance of bringing them here and then they start working out, and they say they feel something," Gardenhire said. "So we left them home. But hopefully they'll be ready to go tomorrow."
Guerrier makes spring debut in intrasquad contest
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Right-hander Matt Guerrier made his first appearance of the spring on Tuesday, throwing a scoreless inning in a Minor League intrasquad game at the Lee County Sports Complex in Fort Myers.
Guerrier, who had surgery in mid-August to repair the flexor mass in his right elbow, allowed one hit and got three ground-ball outs against Triple-A Rochester.
Guerrier was originally scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut against the Rays on Tuesday, but he was held back to pitch in a controlled environment in the Minor League game.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that despite the late start, Guerrier still has time to make the club as a non-roster invitee before the team opens the regular season against the White Sox on March 31.
"He's actually in great shape and his arm feels fantastic," Gardenhire said. "So now we start the process of him getting innings. But can he get enough innings? Absolutely. For a reliever, he can get enough innings to get ready for the season."
Twins closer Glen Perkins pitched in the same Minor League game, and he threw a scoreless inning with one hit allowed and a strikeout. Left-hander Brian Duensing also tossed a scoreless frame, giving up one hit.
Right-handed reliever Jared Burton struggled, however, as he gave up five runs on three singles, a double, a homer, a walk and three stolen bases before being removed.