Outlook: Diamond may regress in '13 if control fails

KANSAS CITY -- The next stop for left-hander Scott Diamond is Target Field.

Diamond, who has battled back from left elbow surgery, put the finishing touches on his rehabilitation efforts with a side session on Wednesday in Fort Myers, Fla. There were no complications and Diamond is ready to rejoin the Twins' rotation.

Originally expected to go on Friday, Diamond has been pushed back to Saturday while Vance Worley gets the start in Friday's series opener against the Mets. General Manager Terry Ryan said the Twins will wait on announcing a corresponding roster move until it's time to activate Diamond.

"Everything went good," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Diamond's side session. "He should be flying to Minnesota and hopefully he'll beat the snow."

Diamond's arrival could be a huge boost for Minnesota's rotation if the left-hander picks up where he left off in 2012. He posted a 3.54 ERA in 27 starts and led the Twins' staff with 173 innings while compiling a 12-9 record.

"He led by example," Gardenhire said. "Scotty studies the game and prepares very well for the opposing team. He got us deep into games and won his fair share of them. He stepped up and did a real nice job for us. You have to be able to work both sides of the plate and Scotty does that."

Escobar goes big with first Major League blast

MIN@KC: Escobar blasts an opposite-field solo homer

KANSAS CITY -- Eduardo Escobar is listed at 5-foot-10 and 173 pounds. But despite that diminutive stature, the Twins' infielder showed on Tuesday that he can hit the ball a long way when he gets a fastball in a spot that he anticipates.

Escobar's first Major League home run came off Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie in the fifth inning and was measured at 397 feet. The Twins were able to retrieve the ball and present it to Escobar.

"I knew I put a good swing on it, but I never thought it would go that far," Escobar said through translator Wilkin Ramirez. "It was a 3-2 count and I was looking fastball away."

Escobar could only wish that his first homer had come on a night when Minnesota won. The Royals put a damper on Escobar's milestone homer by emerging with a 7-4 victory.

"I feel good about it, but I wanted a 'W,'" Escobar said. "Then I could have enjoyed it better."

Gardy hoping day off gets Hicks on track

MIN@BAL: Hicks's RBI single puts the Twins up late

KANSAS CITY -- After getting a chance to sit and watch on Tuesday, Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks was back in the lineup on Wednesday against the Royals for the finale of the road trip.

Hicks, who batted in the leadoff spot, started the night hitting .067 with two hits in 30 at-bats. Manager Ron Gardenhire was hopeful that the break for Hicks would pay dividends.

"It was a chance to freshen his mind, relax a little bit," Gardenhire said. "We'll see how it goes. He has faced a lot of really good pitching here, and I'm sure he has put a little pressure on himself. He did a little extra work [Tuesday] on the field. Now, it's just getting back out there and getting a good pitch to hit. He'll be fine. This kid is a very talented young man."