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LAA@NYY: Kuroda picks up his first win with Yankees

Twins starter Jason Marquis has had no shortage of big league accomplishments in his 12-year career. The right-hander made two World Series appearances with the Cardinals in 2004, appeared in the '09 All-Star Game and even won the '05 Silver Slugger Award for National League pitchers.

Yet it's possible that not one of the 33-year-old's 267 previous starts carried was as emotional as Wednesday night's outing at Yankee Stadium figures to be.

A Yankees fan growing up, Marquis will make his season debut against his former favorite team after spending the last two weeks preparing for the season with Double-A New Britain. Marquis missed two weeks of Spring Training while tending to his 7-year-old daughter, Reese, who was seriously injured in a bicycle accident in Staten Island, N.Y.

"I felt great, physically and mentally," Marquis said. "Obviously the time the Twins gave me to be with my daughter and pitch with New Britain at the same time allowed me not only to get ready, physically and mentally, too. She's at home safe and sound now."

"... But as for myself, I was able to accomplish what I wanted in New Britain, and now I'm ready to go."

On top of it being his first start following his daughter's accident and subsequent recovery and pitching against the team he used to idolize, Wednesday's start will also mark Marquis' first in the American League. Over his first 12 seasons, he spent time with the Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, Rockies, Nationals and D-backs.

That last tidbit is something that Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda -- who spent his first four Major League seasons with the Dodgers -- can certainly relate to. The only players currently on the Twins' roster who Kuroda has faced are Ryan Doumit (2-for-12) and Josh Willingham (1-for-9).

"I think the biggest challenge is to get to know the hitters," Kuroda said through interpreter Kenji Nimura. "No matter how much you see them on video, it's different when you go out to the mound and face them in real life. Getting to know the hitters -- that's the biggest challenge."

That will be just one of the challenges facing Marquis when he toes the rubber, looking to help the Twins improve on their worst 11-game start since 2000, when they also started 3-8. The Twins finished an AL-worst 69-93 that season.

"I grew up a Yankees fan," Marquis said. "So to start a game in a different uniform here is definitely exciting and a dream come true. It took 13 years to get it done and it finally came, and hopefully I can get the 'W' Wednesday."

Twins: Healthy Mauer, Morneau gives team different look

• It's no secret that injuries ravaged the Twins' lineup a season ago. Now, with club cornerstones Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau seemingly healthy, facing the Twins is apparently a whole new challenge for opponents.

"You never want to see anyone out of the lineup, but I got to tell you, I don't mind when they're not in the lineup," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of the Twins' pair. "I think you can probably get a lot of other managers to say the same things.

"These are two great hitters. It changes their lineup dramatically when they're not in there. You put the heart and soul of the lineup back in there, and they're a much different team and it changes who the Twins are."

Mauer, who played in just 82 games last year, has appeared in all 11 games so far this season, while Morneau (69 games in 2011) sat out his first contest Tuesday night for a planned day of rest.

Yankees: Cano's recent slide extended

Second baseman Robinson Cano went 1-for-5 Tuesday night, recording his lone hit in eight at-bats so far this series. Overall, Cano is 4-for-23 in his last six games and has just one RBI on the season.

"He's had some good at-bats for me," Girardi said of Cano, who has also drawn four walks during the recent skid. "He hasn't chased a lot of pitches out of the zone. He's taken some walks, so I've been pleased. That will turn around."

Worth noting

• Morneau's .452 (19-for-42) career average at Yankee Stadium is his highest for any AL ballpark. It's second overall only to his .455 (5-for-11) mark at the Padres' Petco Park.

• The Twins haven't won a season series against the Yankees since going 4-2 in 2001. The Yankees are 52-19 against the Twins since, including 29-6 at home. Comments