Swarzak, who made 11 starts for the Twins a year ago, was stretched out to six innings in Spring Training in case of such an emergency and will slide into the rotation to face Baltimore and right-hander Jason Hammel, who is making his Orioles debut.
"I was preparing to be a starter for weeks in Spring Training, and was put in a situation where if they need a spot start, I'd be ready to go," Swarzak said. "It's unfortunate for Liam to be in the situation he's in. I hope he gets better as soon as possible, because he's a pretty good pitcher, and in the big picture we need as many good pitchers on the staff as we can get."
Swarzak, 26, proved to be a solid fill-in as a spot starter last year, going 3-5 with a 4.52 ERA in that role. He said he'll draw on that experience as he prepares for Sunday's series finale.
"Mentally, this is an opportunity for me to start, and that's always a good thing in my eyes," Swarzak said. "I feel comfortable starting at the big league level, so hopefully I get the job done."
Hammel takes the mound in the regular season for the first time as an Oriole after coming over from Colorado along with Matt Lindstrom in exchange for Jeremy Guthrie in February. Hammel said Jake Arrieta's strong Opening Day start -- two hits in seven shutout innings -- set the tone for the Orioles' pitching staff, and the 29-year-old right-hander is looking to repeat his teammate's performance.
Baltimore manager Buck Showalter, when told of Hammel's goal, said he likes to see that type of mentality in his starting pitchers. Showalter also said he liked what he saw from Hammel during Spring Training.
"I thought his command was pretty good down there, showed some different ways to get you out, because you are always going, 'OK, what's a guy going to do to get a right-handed hitter, what's he going to do to put a left-handed hitter away?' We saw some weapons down there that he should be able to use if he can get to those counts and execute them," Showalter said. "Like I said before, Spring Training is one thing. And look at the track record of his Spring Trainings, this year was pretty good."
Twins: More on Hendriks
General manager Terry Ryan spoke with reporters prior to Saturday's game, and said he was stunned when he heard about Hendrik's food poisoning.
"It is amazing," Ryan said with a hint of disbelief. "Everything was fine until he got back home. I don't know what he had, but he's still in the hospital. He'll get out tomorrow morning. It's too bad because the kid did a wonderful job for us this spring [2.84 ERA]. But it shouldn't take too long to get him back out there."
Justin Morneau hit one milestone, and is nearing a couple more, as he continues to climb his way up some of the club's all-time lists. On Saturday, he hit his 232nd double to tie Harmon Killebrew for eighth on the Twins' all-time list. He also needs one run to tie Roy Smalley for 13th on the all-time list (he has 550), and two RBIs to tie Torii Hunter for 14th on the all-time list (709).
Orioles: Setting the tone
Showalter had more to say about Hammel's comments about following with Arrieta's outing, and how that type of mentality can help an entire pitching staff.
"You know, I think momentum is, I'd like to have that type of mentality and maybe that will happen. But it will be about ability," Showalter said. "You got to have a strong will, but it's about ability and being able to execute and do things. They all have to be part of the picture. Can't survive without one of them. I like the will of our starting pitching this year, seven or eight deep."
Baltimore's Opening Day roster featured players from six different countries: Dominican Republic (Wilson Betemit, Ronny Paulino and Pedro Strop), Japan (Tsuyoshi Wada, disabled list), Mexico (Luis Ayala), Taiwan (Wei-Yin Chen), Venezuela (Endy Chavez) and the U.S. (several).
Since Hammel spent the past three years in the National League, two of Minnesota's key offseason acquisitions are familiar with him. Jamey Carroll is hitting .500 (6-for-12) against the right-hander in his career, while Josh Willingham has hit .400 (4-for-10) against the righty.
Of the 25 players on the Twins' active roster, 14 began their professional careers in the Twins' organization.