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NYY@MIN: Vasquez fans five over six solid frames

The Twins and the Blue Jays will conclude the 2012 regular season with a three-game set beginning Monday at Rogers Centre. The two have played earlier in the year -- from May 10-13 -- and split the four games.

The Twins cross the border for the first time this season, however, and it will be Esmerling Vasquez (0-2, 5.88 ERA) tasked with trying to get the Twins out of the cellar of the American League Central.

For Vasquez, it will mark his fifth career start. He's recorded one quality start, which came in his most recent outing against the Yankees. He contained the powerful lineup to two runs on seven hits in six innings.

"I feel great," Vasquez said after the game. "It's a quality start against the Yankees."

The Blue Jays counter with Aaron Laffey (4-6, 4.52 ERA).

Laffey held the Orioles to five hits in 5 2/3 innings in his last start, despite his velocity being down. After increasing his innings pitched by more than 100 from the 2011 season, the left-hander was hovering in the 82-83 mph range in his last start.

He was diagnosed with back tightness, but manager John Farrell said Laffey would be set to go Monday.

"He felt a little soreness in his back that he is working through," Farrell said. "He is gaining ground on that every day, and he's been able to play catch the last couple days and has felt good with it."

Twins: Mauer could see time at third in 2013
In answer to a question from a season-ticket holder, manager Ron Gardenhire said Thursday that he might consider moving catcher/first baseman Joe Mauer to third base next year. However, that's the first Mauer's heard of it.

"I haven't even wrapped my head around it, so if that's the case, hopefully I'll have some time to prepare for it," Mauer said Sunday.

Still, the 29-year-old insisted he would be most valuable behind the plate.

"I believe I can go out there and be an everyday catcher," he said.

• Right-hander Scott Baker, who underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery on April 17, is throwing from 120 feet. He will progress to 150 feet before shutting it down for a month then throwing off the mound. He hopes to be ready by Spring Training.

"I'm not going to sit here and promise anybody it's going to work out that way, but that's what I'm shooting for. I definitely think that's an attainable goal of mine," Baker said.

• Samuel Deduno (eye irritation) will not make his scheduled start Tuesday. The Twins have not yet named a replacement, but it could be Anthony Swarzak or Brian Duensing.

Blue Jays: Romero has injury scare
Ricky Romero's already disappointing season almost got a whole lot worse Saturday night, when he exited with a left knee injury. However, tests revealed it was only inflammation occurring where the quadriceps connects to the kneecap.

"There's a tendon that got a little flared up," Romero said. "It was more a precaution yesterday. Late in the year, you don't want to get hurt."

• 41-year-old reliever Darren Oliver is about to complete his 19th season in the Majors. Toronto holds a club option for next year, but Oliver is unsure if he wants to come back for 2013.

"I'm not thinking about it right now," he said Sunday. "I'll worry about that when the season's over, when I'm at home, relaxing."

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