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Who will be the No. 5 starter for the Twins?

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With only a couple of weeks to go before the Minnesota Twins open the regular season in Chicago against the White Sox, the battle for the final spot in the starting rotation is heating up.

The Star Tribune reports that Samuel Deduno, Vance Worley, Kyle Gibson and Scott Diamond are the four men competing for the job. Worley will start today's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Gibson will start Wednesday against the Cardinals, and he'll be relieved by Deduno. Diamond, the only lefty in the group, is scheduled to start Thursday against the Rays.

“We hope they all pitch really well and make it really, really hard to make our decisions,” manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Deduno has been firing bullets all spring, allowing just one run and five hits over his last four appearances. Gardenhire said Deduno has been "unhittable."

The winner of the battle for the fifth spot probably won't be announced until next week. Here's a look at how the four stack up against each other in the statistical department to this point in spring training.

  • Deduno: 9.2 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 4 BB, 8 K, 0.93 ERA
  • Gibson: 9 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs, 3 BB, 2 K, 3.00 ERA
  • Diamond: 9.2 innings, 13 hits, 6 runs, 7 BB, 11 K, 5.59 ERA
  • Worley: 8 innings, 11 hits, 9 runs, 3 BB, 4 K, 10.13 ERA

Is Deduno the favorite? The numbers certainly indicate so, with Gibson coming in with the second-most impressive numbers. Diamond and Worley's stats don't bode well for their chances.

The Pioneer Press reports that Gibson might wind up in the bullpen. Gardenhire said "it could happen," but he hasn't discussed the possibility with anyone yet.

The top four spots in the rotation belong to Phil Hughes, Ricky Nolasco, Kevin Correia and Mike Pelfrey.

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