Matt Fox to Start for Twins on Friday

3 Sep

Matt Fox will make his big league debut for the Twins when they take on the Texas Rangers tonight. He was not on the 40 man roster, so a subsequent move will be needed to be made. Could be putting Justin Morneau on the 60 Day Disabled List. More to come. (Got to admit, I’m thrilled. He is a terrific guy with a great perspective!) He also threw to Drew Butera at Central Florida.

Here is what I wrote about Matt Fox in the Minnesota Twins 2010 Prospect Handbook:

Matthew Fox – RHP – (12/4/82)

Acquired: Supp. 1st round pick in 2004 from U of Central Florida

2009 Team(s): New Britain Rockcats

2009 Stats: 9-9, 3.58 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 151 IP, 56 BB, 120 K

We always want pitchers to come back quickly from Tommy John surgery. Matt Fox gives us an illustration of the need to be patient. Fox had the surgery early in 2005 and missed that season. He came back in 2006 with the E-Twins, in the bullpen. In 2007 and 2008, he began the seasons in the bullpen before being a starter in the second half. In 2009, Fox was a starter for the full season again. He made 26 starts and threw 151 innings, over 33 innings more than the previous season. Fox is a four-pitch pitcher. His fastball is clocked between 88-92 mph, nearly to the level he was at pre-surgery. He has a cut-fastball that he throws between 85-88 mph. He has a very good curveball and continues to work on a changeup. But the cutter and curveball are his big pitches. Reports say that he only throws about 15 fastballs a game. Instead, he has the confidence to throw his cutter in any count. Because of that, he is able to keep the ball off of the meat of a hitter’s bat. Like Mariano Rivera, the cutter is much tougher on left-handed batters. Lefties hit just .246 against Fox in 2009 while righties hit .261. His curveball has proven to be his strikeout pitch. It’s a nice, tight, twelve-to-six bender. The key for Fox over time will be the development of his changeup, a pitch that has been inconsistent to this point. When he has control of it, he can be very good. If there was one other area to potentially improve would be to find a pitch to get inside on right-handed batters. However, Matt Fox has overcome a lot since his surgery. He, and the Twins, have been very patient, and it is paying off. He continues to get in better shape, and regain his arm strength. Fox should be starting in Rochester in 2010, and if he continues to show progress, he could be a big leaguer in the very near future. 

He began the 2010 season in the Rochester bullpen and has been moving back and forth from the bullpen to the rotation. He was the Red Wings player of the week just last week and has been the team’s top pitcher of late. Consider that David Bromberg and Kyle Gibson have been shut down, and Fox makes a lot of sense. He last started on Monday, so he is going on just three days rest, so it will be interesting to see if he is on a pitch count.


Here is a look at the Thursday night’s minor league scores and highlights:

  • Rochester 3, Syracuse 7 – Cole DeVries made another start for the Red Wings. In four innings, he gave up five runs (4 earned) on seven hits and two walks. He struck out five. Jose Lugo gave up one run on two hits and a walk in his inning. Glen Perkins threw three innings and gave up only an unearned run on a hit and two walks. He struck out two. Anthony Slama had a walk in a scoreless inning. The Red Wings managed just six hits. Jacque Jones and Danny Lehmann each hit a double.  
  • New Britain 1, Reading 4 – Mike McCardell has had a rough 2010 season. On this night, he pitched well, a complete game, and still got a loss. In eight innings, he gave up four runs on six hits. He issued no walks and struck out four in eight innings. The Rockcats had seven hits in the game. Ben Revere went 2-4. Juan Portes, Joe Benson and Estarlin de Los Santos each hit a double.  
  • Ft. Myers 5, Palm Beach 2 – David Deminsky, a 2010 draft pick and St. Cloud State alum, started and gave up two runs on six hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out four. Jhon Garcia gave up a hit and a walk but no runs in two innings. Dakota Watts struck out two in two scoreless innings. Angel Morales went 2-4 with a walk and his 11th stolen base. Deibinson Romero and Nate Hanson were each 2-5. Romero hit his 13th and 14th doubles. Nate Hanson hit a walk-off, three run homer for the Miracle win.
  • Beloit, Clinton (Suspended in 2nd) – The Snappers are in contention for a playoff spot. This game started, and Aaron Hicks hit a first inning home run, but in the 2nd inning, the game was halted and will be continued.
  • Elizabethton 6, Pulaski 2 – Elizabethton advances to the Appalachian League championship series against Johnson City after this win. The game went into extra innings tied at one. The E-Twins scored five to advance. Danny Ortiz, Brian Burke, Andy Leer and Kyle Knudson each went 2-5. Leer had a double and three RBI. Knudson had two doubles. Nate Roberts was 2-4 with a double. BJ Hermsen started and gave up one run on four hits in seven innings. He struck out five and did not walk any. David Gutierrez gets the win thanks to two shutout innings. Jose Gonzalez gave up two runs on two hits (two solo homers) in the bottom of the 10th.  

Any thoughts? Feel free to leave your questions and comments here.


40 Responses to “Matt Fox to Start for Twins on Friday”

  1. Bill in Sarasota September 3, 2010 at 7:07 am #

    Last week Gardy was saying he only needed a catcher.

    Unfortunately injuries are part of baseball.

    It’s inexcusable for a team leading its division to be short on pitchers in September. Slama and Neshek (they’re on the 40 man roster) should have been in the bullpen in case of an emergency.

    Like the boy scouts motto: “always be prepared”.

  2. down on the farm September 3, 2010 at 7:33 am #

    good point Bill. I thought the same thing last night while watching the game. I thought, just how many games are we giving away tonight? We lost our starter for
    Friday…probably made Duensing less effective for his next start… We may have lost three games in one last night.

    whereas, had we properly used our callups, we could have had Burnett here…or Slama…and we likely would still have lost in extra innings, but we would have fresh starters ready to go for the Texas series. Interesting choices by the Twins. I think they fell asleep at the wheel here.

  3. JR September 3, 2010 at 8:07 am #

    Rob Delaney got the call up last night and is on his way to Texas. Rob had a good second half and should help the team.
    The only issue might be that Tom Nieto used him and the whole relief staff too much. I think Rob leads the minors in total innings for relief pitchers at 80 innings.
    Rob has 92 strikeouts in those 80 innings and pitched to 3.08 Era since the all star break.

  4. Dr. Strangeglove September 3, 2010 at 8:10 am #

    The first two commenters are exactly right. We lost three starters and probably more than one game last night due to unacceptable preparation by the front office. Slama, Perkins, Burnett, Neshek, and Swarzak are all on the 40-man and should be in that bullpen in a September pennant race. And now Matt Fox? In a pennant race? Friggin ridiculous.

  5. Fanatic Jack September 3, 2010 at 8:34 am #


    You and other bloggers continue to defend Gardenhire and the team from criticism. The bottom line is last night was a devastating loss and one that will hurt the Twins in the long run. The White Sox will win this division because they have better pitching. Please answer these questions:

    1. Why in the world would you trade for relief pitcher Brian Fuentes if he has a bad back?

    2. Why does Matt “Gopher ball” Guerrier continue to come into the game for the 8th inning? I thought Gardy said he would be used earlier than that. I thought Gardy wanted to use him less and keep him fresh.

    3. Why is J.J. Hardy not on the DL? He can’t make a throw to first base without bouncing the ball off the ground. He also can’t hit and should be straight up released. Sure glad we gave up Gomez and did not sign Orlando Cabrera. Where are all the bloggers defending this move now.

    4. Why is Span playing these days. He is terrible and Jason Repko should be starting because of his defense. Span went 0-6 last night. A good job by our lead off hitter to get on base 1 time in 7 plate appearances. I sure envisioned that when he was signed for the next 5 years.

    5. Why did the Twins organization lie to us and make most ignorant fans believe Justin Morneau would come back this season? His career is most likely over!! Just be honest with the fans about it.

    6. Why is Nick Blackburn in the major leagues? I mean come on his sinker ball does not sink. He gave up a home run to Gerald Laird a .202 hitter last night and has had one good outing in two month against the Mighty Mariners.

    7. When you have Septemeber call-ups the whole idea is to replenish your bullpen and rotation? Why were Slama, Delaney, and Neshek not called up? Now we have to rely on Matt Fox a kid who has zero chance of being successful.

    8. Will Gardenhire continue to use injuries as a excuse for losing. The Sox have lost Beckham, Putz, Thornton, Peavy and they are not making excuses.

    9. Why do Twins fans have to live by scorebaord watching every year down the stretch? Insetad of backing into the playoffs like last year, and 2006, why can’t the Twins just run away with the division? Maybe they are not as godd as all the bloggers seem to think they are.

    10. Even if the Twins do make the playoffs does it really matter because they are not going to advance. The one thing that is very obvious over the last two weeks is the Twins can make mistakes against bad teams and get away with them but against good teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, and Rangers they will not. Fans are going to have to accept that this team has failed to live up to expectations yet AGAIN.

    11. Why can’t this team hit home runs at Target Field? Every team that comes to Target Field never seems to have a problem but of course the Twins hitters do. You think this is maybe a mental laspe?

    12. The bullpen was shored up with Capps and Fuentes but how good are the rest of these guys. The truth is does any fan really trust Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, and Randy Flores? The answer is an emphatic NO.

    If you can answer these questions you are smarter than me becuase I just can’t figure it out.

  6. mike wants wins September 3, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    Wow, Jack.

    1. He’s been very effective this year. I like the trade.
    2. good question.
    3. Cabrera should not have been re-signed. He’s not good. The trade is good. You can’t predict injuries.
    4. Who else would play?
    5. They aren’t lying. Head injuries are unpredictable.
    6. What? Who else should be? He is a number 5/6 starter.
    7. That is a great question – Smith blew that.
    8. Not a fan of excuses, but who cares what the manager says?
    9. The Twins are leading their division by 3.5 games.
    10. They aren’t likely to advance, but we don’t know they won’t. Also, my expectations were 85-90 wins, so mine are being met.
    11. Have you looked at the stats, or is this anectdotal?
    12. How good is this pen? Look at the stats compared to other AL teams…

  7. Seth September 3, 2010 at 9:08 am #

    I don’t have time to go part by part, but here are a couple of thoughts.

    They gave up Loek Van Mil to get Brian Fuentes, who dominates LHB. You do that every day. Guerrier does get overused all the time. With Capps and Fuentes out, that was the spot for him. If any of the pitching moves could be criticized last night, it would be taking Manship out. He probably could have gone more than four innings, and he did well, allowing just the one run. I haven’t heard anyone else say that they wouldn’t have traded Gomez for Hardy. Just because Hardy is hurt doesn’t mean that the Twins miss gomez. Also, Orlando Cabrera has been 1.) hurt, and 2.) really bad for the Reds this year. As for Morneau, the most brilliant doctors in the world don’t have an answer or a timeline for his concussion, so why would the Twins. They’ve said they don’t know. Blackburn has been good since coming back. it’s not like Laird has never hit a homer. Matt Fox has been Rochester’s best starter of late. he’s 27. He’s pretty cool and calm. I don’t expect more than 4 innings from him tonight, but someone has to take those innings. So, good for him. Slama and Perkins can’t be called up for 10 days. Delaney is on his way (good note, JR). I haven’t heard Gardy use injuries as an excuse for losses, but when they are playing with so many starters out, it is a reality. When you’re missing Morneau, Hudson, Punto, Kubel, Thome and Hardy clearly isn’t 100%, that’s a lot to overcome. If anything, this might be Gardy’s best year of all managing, and I hope he gets some credit for them having one of the best records in all of baseball despite all of that. Who cares about HR? All of the Twins numbers offensively, the ones that matter, like Runs scored, OPS, etc., are higher at home than on the road, that’s why they have such a great home record.

    Like I wrote yesterday, this AL Central is FAR from over. The White Sox are a solid team and the Twins are banged up more than I ever can remember. Last night was a bad game, a frustrating game, but if the team could have held a four run lead in the 8th inning and a one run lead in the 9th, then all is good, right? So, let’s not go overboard here. it’s going to be a tough stretch the rest of the way.

  8. Tim Walsh September 3, 2010 at 9:10 am #

    Fox is the kind of guy that often gives the Twins fits. Texas does not likely have much of a scouting report. This should be interesting.Good Luck Matt

  9. roger September 3, 2010 at 9:16 am #

    Couldn’t be happier for Matt Fox. By the way, his 3.95 ERA is fifteenth best in the International League. He has had a wonderful season and clearly has been Rochester’s best starter all year.

  10. Funkytown September 3, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    LaVelle says his “sources” are telling him Delaney and Burnett are called up too, and he’s trying to confirm.

    Nice job scooping the beat writers.

  11. Funkytown September 3, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    And I just checked his blog. Confirmed. Delaney and Burnett on hand, too.

  12. JR September 3, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    Correction to my above post – Delaney is on his way to join the Twins versus Texas. Not sure who else is going up – I only have the inside info on Rob Delaney.

  13. enough September 3, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    I hope Neshek asks for his release, to be sitting there healthy and pitching good, it is a slap in the face!!!!

  14. Bill in Sarasota September 3, 2010 at 10:17 am #

    We all hope that Fox will do well tonight but if he gets clobbered in the first two innings, what do the Twins do?

    Since they only called up Fox and Delaney, again they could be short on pitching which will affect future games and overstress the relievers.

    Slama and Perkins have to wait for the rest of their 10 days – but what about Burnett and Neshek?

    Swarzek pitched two days ago, I would skip his upcoming last start at Rochester in case he’s needed in the next six days.

  15. Seth September 3, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    For those that are checking here for updates… I have been making updates only to, including confirmation of Fox, Delaney and Burnett, as well as some minor league moves.

  16. Bill in Sarasota September 3, 2010 at 10:20 am #

    Just saw the update on Burnett. That’s good.

    Neshek seems to be buried in the dog house. Maybe he got called too but he’s too afraid to tell anyone.

  17. Mike September 3, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    I enjoy listening to you on the P.A. show on the Fan, Seth. Just wondering if Matthew Fox is finally making it to the show since he can focus exclusively on baseball now that he saved the Island on Lost? Do you have any opinion on that?

  18. enough September 3, 2010 at 10:22 am #

    No, he did not get the call and probably won’t

  19. Funkytown September 3, 2010 at 11:31 am #

    Neshek has not been much more than average in AAA. He may still get a call after the end of the season next week.

    • enoughalready September 3, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

      Yeah, and Delaney, Slama, Perkins, and Burnett have been awesome in AAA right…you are all idiots

      • DH in Philly September 3, 2010 at 1:02 pm #

        Hello Pot – Kettle here

  20. Funkytown September 3, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    This year, due to lots of factors, pitchers have been moved up the ladder throughout the organization. And I think that’s a good thing.

    I would have preferred Hermsen to stay in Beloit, Salcedo in FM,but the Twins thought otherwise.That’s fine.

    Gutierrez now joins Bromberg and Gibson(who did fine before being shut down) in AAA. I wish Bullock would have gone there too.

  21. TT September 3, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    The reason Neshek is not getting called up is because he hasn’t regained his velocity. Without that, he isn’t a major league pitcher any more.

    Last night was a perfect storm. A starter lost, two relievers, including the closer, unavailable. And the normally dependable rest of the bullpen blew up and the game went 12 innings. And that happened only after Rauch and Flores had already been used in short stints based on it being a nine inning game.

    I don’t think anyone would have anticipated all that. There is a limit to how many pitchers you want sitting out in the bullpen on the basis that you might need them. Of course, if they had been able to use Slama instead of Duensing, the game likely would have been over quicker with the same result. But then they could have let Thome pitch and got the same result.

    “The truth is does any fan really trust Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, and Randy Flores? The answer is an emphatic NO.”

    Well, I suppose if you assume that ALL Twins fans are complete idiots that is probably true.

    • enoughalready September 3, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

      Yeah, the old “Neshek’s velocity, well he is throwing 91-93 and the old “can’t get lefties out, well yes he can” Love you idiots who just go with whatever the reporters say. Why don’t you look at the ERA’s of the ones they just called up, then look at who gave up Neshek’s last two runs on 9/1…Oh yeah, Delaney…came in to get 1 out and couldn’t do it, I forgot …send Neshek down to pitch MORE…then they don’t pitch him in AAA…FREE Him NOW…I hope he asks for a release and hope they do it!!

      • TT September 3, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

        “Why don’t you look at the ERA’s ”

        Because ERA’s for relievers are pretty much meaningless. And ERA’s for a minor league reliever is even more meaningless.

        “he is throwing 91-93”

        Which is a couple mph slower than before his injury even when he was on the mound several days in a row. Neshek has pitched two days in a row once in the last month. He usually is given 3 or 4 days. Its pretty clear the Twins don’t think he is fully recovered.

        As for left handers, there is over 100 point batting average difference for lefties and righties against Neshek at AAA. Lefties are hitting .317 against him and righties .215. He also strikes out righties over twice as often and walks them less.

      • enoughalready September 3, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

        Neshek never threw harder than 91-92 so get your facts right buddy. Also mr Fact, what is Mahay, Perkins, Slama, Rausch, and on and on averages against lefties??? Come one, I think Neshek’s might be better huh

      • enoughalready September 3, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

        Oh and don’t forget Burnet against lefties too Mr fact

  22. PinkiePinkerton September 3, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    SETH: “Heard that Neshek is not the one called up at this time. I have no idea why.”

    Because sometimes a grudge is more important than a win?

  23. Bill in Sarasota September 3, 2010 at 4:55 pm #

    TT – last night was not a perfect storm. I would agree if this was July or August before roster are expanded.

    Rochester was eliminated two months ago so you could juggle the pitchers in any way they wanted.

    It was a lack of being prepared.
    1. Gardy overuses his favorite relievers (# of warm ups, # of games).
    2. In the past, it’s been shown Guerrier is much less effective once he’s overused.

    Delaney, Burnett, Neshek, and Swarzek gave the Twins plenty of options before Sept. 1 to handle a so-called “perfect storm”.

    • TT September 3, 2010 at 8:30 pm #

      “Delaney, Burnett, Neshek, and Swarzek gave the Twins plenty of options before Sept. 1 to handle a so-called “perfect storm”.”

      As I said, any one of them pitching instead of Duensing likely would have brought the game to an end much quicker. The problem was the Twins are trying to WIN games.

  24. TT September 3, 2010 at 8:27 pm #

    “Neshek never threw harder than 91-92 ”

    The reports I had were he topped out at 94-95.

    • enoughalready September 3, 2010 at 8:55 pm #

      Well that isn’t the case, and it doesn’t matter what he threw, it matters about the movement on the ball and being effective. He has proven that he is effective, the AAA team sucks, if they could catch a routine fly ball or turn a routine double play, most of the pitchers stats would be great, maybe you should watch a few of the Wings games and you would see what I am talking about in about 2 innings, they are the worst Wings team in history, can’t field worth a S*** and make stupid plays that F with the pitcher.

  25. Bill in Sarasota September 3, 2010 at 9:15 pm #

    TT – “The problem was the Twins are trying to WIN games.”

    Oh silly me, I guess that’s why Fox is starting tonight instead of Blackburn.

    By your logic, the Twins are not trying to WIN, since they recalled Delaney and Burnett today.

    Gardy and Smith got caught with their pants down by their ankles.

  26. Jim H September 4, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    I suspect the reason pitchers weren’t called up from AAA is that they were trying to let Rochester finish the season with enough pitchers to not overtax the ones that were left. I think they were trying to avoid what actually ended up happening, shifting a bunch of pitchers around from 3 different levels for a couple of games. The Twins don’t make moves in a vacuum, if a pitcher or position player is called up from AAA, you still have to have somebody to play the games there, even if they don’t mean much. You also can’t burn out a prospect at AAA because you left that club short. As several people pointed out, the Texas game would be hard to predict, it would be nice to prepared for such an eventuality, but such a situation happens so infrequently that sometimes you don’t.

    As for as Neshek goes, I think that if the Twins thought he was ready to be a help to the Twins, he would be up here. Grudges and such are seldom a part of a professional GM’s thinking. You call up who is most ready to help right now, especially in a short term situation like we have. Also judging whether somebody is ready to pitch in the big leagues by radar readings is silly. Even if the Twins are waiting for Neshek to regain his velocity, ballpark radar guns are very unreliable, plus one pitch caught at a high reading doesn’t mean a pitcher can reliably throw at that speed.

    I don’t mind critism of the Twins front office or on field staff. That is part of their job and they do make their share of mistakes and miscues. I wonder about the venom though. It also might help to consider the big picture once in awhile.

  27. JR September 4, 2010 at 3:56 pm #

    More inside info – Neshek gave Gardenhire and Anderson alot of stuff last time he was up with the big club. Insiders say that is why he was lost in Rochester. He is not the first pitcher in recent years to be in Gardenhire’s doghouse

    • enoughalready September 4, 2010 at 7:46 pm #

      Really, you have “inside info” get real, they are still mad that Neshek called the medical staff out for giving him a cortisone shot in the wrong place and then wanting him to pitch more, had he pitched more he would have really done damage, so he asked to be on the DL, If his last name began with a “M” no one would have had a problem with it, I am glad he stuck up for himself as someone had to!!

  28. TT September 4, 2010 at 6:05 pm #

    “By your logic, the Twins are not trying to WIN, since they recalled Delaney and Burnett today.”

    And by your logic, the Twins should have had the entire 40 player roster active on September 1st since they might need them. The Twins had seven healthy pitchers in their bullpen on September 1st. They started the game Thursday with Baker on the mound and 5 relievers available. Friday, they started the game with Fox on the mound and only 4 relievers available even after calling up Burnett and Delaney. If Fox had only been able to pitch a couple innings, like Baker, the Twins would have been in even worse shape than they were Thursday night.

  29. JR September 5, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    to “enoughalready”



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