Scott Diamond made 27 starts in 2012, and that led the Twins by 10. Diamond pitched 173 innings and led the Twins by 64. Diamond had a 3.54 ERA, and that was 2.32 runs lower than the cumulative total (5.86) for the pitchers making the other 135 starts.

These numbers tell you the reason that Diamond collected two plaques at the Diamond Awards in January: Twins Pitcher of the Year and Outstanding Rookie. They also dramatize the starting mess that doomed the 2012 Twins to 14th position in the American League for a second consecutive season.

There were 12 pitchers who made starts for the Twins in 2012. Three are gone: Carl Pavano, Francisco Liriano and Jason Marquis. Three are non-rostered invitees: Nick Blackburn, P.J. Walters and Esmerling Vasquez. Blackburn is also hurt, as is Anthony Swarzak with an injury suffered “horsing around” in a TwinsFest after-party.

Lefthander Brian Duensing (11 starts in 55 appearances) is destined to pitch from the bullpen.

Where does that leave the Twins for survivors of the 2012 conglomerate who are on the big-league roster? Diamond, Liam Hendriks, Cole De Vries and Samuel Deduno.

Put that group with acquisitions Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia, and top prospect Kyle Gibson, back from elbow surgery, and that’s eight with only Diamond as a lefty.

Add it up and you understand what a big deal it is to have Diamond back sooner than later from elbow clean-up surgery that took place in mid-December.