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If you stayed up to watch the Twins and Diamondbacks finish their second of three games this weekend, I’m sorry! Many of you likely went to bed with the Twins leading 4-3 or maybe even 6-3 going into the 8th inning. Joe Nathan, who needed just eight pitches to get through the 7th inning, gave up a leadoff single in the 8th frame. Ron Gardenhire went to Glen Perkins as the Diamondbacks had three straight left-handers coming to the plate, well, and Perkins has been the team’s top relief pitcher this year. Just a few pitches later, the game’s outlook changed completely. Perkins gave up a single to right-field, but as he was moving toward the 3B line to back up the bag, he stopped and summoned the training staff. He immediately left the game and was replaced by Matt Capps.
Obviously these were the correct moves for the manager to make at the time, but things just went bad. Capps allowed a couple of inherited runners to score, but the team held on to a one-run lead when Kelly Johnson came to the plate. I immediately tweeted that Kelly Johnson is so similar to Adam Kennedy in my mind that this would not be a good matchup. A couple of pitches later, the Johnson crushed a Capps fastball into the right field bleachers to give the Diamondbacks the 9-6 lead that they would hold on to.
But, back to the key point in the game, the Glen Perkins injury. After the game, the manager acknowledged that the Perkins injury would put him on the Disabled List. He said that it was an oblique injury.
UPDATE – less than 3 minutes after I posted this, StarTribune’s LaVelle E. Neal informed us that the Twins announced that Dusty Hughes was being promoted to replace Perkins. No surprised at all, but definitely disappointing. You can still read the below to see what some of the other options were.
This of course brings about several questions.
1.) Which Rochester reliever will come up, and
2.) If that pitcher is not on the 40 man roster, who could be removed from the 40 man roster?
Let’s start with the first question: Which Rochester reliever will come up? Terry Ryan and Tom Kelly are actually in Rochester right now evaluating players. Bill Smith likely called them not long ago to ask who the right person to promote would be. Seemingly, these would be the options:
1.) Chuck James – Why he wasn’t called up and added to the 40 man roster last week instead of Phil Dumatrait is unknown to me, but he has been terrific for the Red Wings. He threw two scoreless innings last night, but he is now 1-1 with a 1.75 ERA in 17 games. In 25.2 innings, the left-hander has allowed 17 hits, walked nine and struck out 35. Seems the most deserving, but again, he is not on the 40 man roster.
2.) Dusty Hughes – If they want to replace the lefty Perkins with another lefty, Hughes is an option. He has posted a 5.06 ERA in 5.1 innings over five games with the Red Wings. However, he is on the 40 man roster so the paperwork would be easier.
3.) Carlos Gutierrez – I said all winter I thought he could come up in July or August and really play a big role for the Twins bullpen. That timeline may be pushed ahead. Gutierrez is 2-2 with a 2.67 ERA in 16 games. In 27 innings, he has given up 20 hits, walked 13 and struck out 18. He has been very good of late and may be an option. He throws hard, and has a big sinker and groundball rate. He is right-handed, and the Twins may feel that they need a second left-hander in the bullpen to go with Dumatrait.
4.) Kyle Waldrop – Another right-hander, Waldrop’s season numbers don’t look too good. He is 1-3 with a 5.48 ERA. This would be a case of going with the hot hand. In his last two games, he has seven strikeouts in four innings. He came in to one game and struck out the International League’s best hitter to record the save. Two days later, he struckout six in 3.2 perfect innings. He had given up runs in five of his previous six outings. He admitted to me the other day that he finally found his proper release point and believes that will make a huge difference.
5.) Others – Eric Hacker and Scott Diamond have struggled in their last 2-3 starts. Kyle Gibson has been struggling his last four starts. It wouldn’t make sense to bring up a starter, unless the plan would be to move Brian Duensing back to the bullpen, which would be a mistake. Anthony Slama is still working his way back to success since missing most of spring training and early April. Jeff Manship has moved back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation and it hasn’t gone well. Jim Hoey needs to stay down there to work on control and that split-finger pitch that has potential to be a great one for him.
Of those four options, only Dusty Hughes is on the 40 man roster, so if the Twins choose one of the other three, someone will need to be removed from the 40 man roster. Who could that be? Here are some options:
1.) Deolis Guerra – still just 22 years old, Guerra is about two years younger than the average player in the Eastern League. However, in his seven starts for the Rock Cats this spring, he is 3-4 with a 9.85 ERA. In just 28.1 innings, he has given up 31 earned runs on 43 hits and eight walks while recording just 19 strikeouts. A year ago, he posted a 6.24 ERA in 19 starts and went 2-10. He was added to the Twins 40 man roster on November 20, 2009, which means he can stay in the minor leagues until the 2013 season. Despite the struggles and numbers, there is a lot of talent here, so it would be hard to remove him from the 40 man roster.
2.) Dusty Hughes – With Jose Mijares and Glen Perkins now on the Disabled List, it is hard to imagine the Twins would take a lefty off the 40 man roster. Hughes is likely better long-term than Dumatrait, so removing him would not make sense.
3.) Phil Dumatrait – If they were going to call up James in Dumatrait’s place, they would have called up James last week instead of Dumatrait.
4.) Alexi Casilla – This is an interesting option. When Jason Repko comes off the DL on Monday, Ben Revere likely goes back to Rochester. Jim Thome will also come off of the DL on Monday. The Twins could option Matt Tolbert or Luke Hughes, or they could designate Casilla for assignment. If DFAing Casilla is an option on Monday, it should be an option on Sunday. Of course, then someone else would need to be optioned on Monday still (Burnett, Hughes or Tolbert probably).
There are a couple of guys who could go to the 60 Day Disabled List to open up a spot:
1.) Joe Mauer – if the Twins don’t believe that he will be able to play until late in June, then this is a possibility. If they think he could be back any sooner than that, it won’t happen.
2.) David Bromberg – This has some gray ground for me. He is on the Disabled List right now, and could be out until mid-June already, he would be a possibility. However, he is on a minor league Disabled List, so would the Twins have to promote an injured player to the big leagues first?
3.) Tsuyoshi Nishioka – This may make the most sense. Again, depending upon when it is realistic for him to return, Nishioka has not played since April 7, so if he is going to be out until about June 10th or so anyway, this could buy them some time.
In my mind, those are the options (unless they have some sort of trade lined up, which is unlikely. What do you think will or should happen? Comment here.