I missed out on almost all the Twins four-game winning streak last week while on my minor league journey. The games and my schedule were so aligned that even with the MLB At Bat app I was out of touch for all but a handful of innings.
So I missed the good stuff and was back in the loop for the latest -- and perhaps the last -- exhibition of pitching malpractice from Jason Marquis.
It may seem inarguable that Marquis should be out of his job, but the Twins haven't yet made it so. And it may be that putting Nick Blackburn on the disabled list has given Marquis a bit more rope.
The Twins have one (temporary) rotation hole to fill. Release Marquis, and they have a lasting hole to fill. What are their options?
1) Francisco Liriano. Ron Gardenhire has said that the Liriano-to-the-bullpen move was intended to be temporary, that he wants Liriano back in the rotation sooner rather than later.
Liriano got through some high-leverage outings during the winning streak. I don't know if he was so good that Gardenhire can feel confident that Liriano is ready to return to starting -- and I would think that they'd want to avoid starting him until they are sure they won't be pulling him out of the rotation again.
2) Liam Hendricks. The Aussie, demoted after four increasingly ineffective starts, has been impressive in three Triple A starts: 2-0, 1.93, 16 strikeouts in 18.2 innings. He remains the best long-term starting prospect in the upper levels of the system.
3) Cole DeVries, a right-handed pitcher, Minnesota native, 27 years old, at Rochester. His 1-4, 4.20 record isn't impressive; his walk/strikeout ratio is. Seth Stohs, who knows the Twins system better than anybody else not employed by the team, is agitating for DeVries to get his shot.
4) Brian Duensing. He's been effective as a relief pitcher, and Gardenhire was talking a while back about returning him to the rotation on the throughly correct logic that his bullpen work was of little use if the starters were taking the team out of games early.
Duensing lost his starting job last year because he couldn't get right-handers out. So far, he's gotten the job done against righties.
5) Drew Butera. OK, not really. But the catcher showed off mid-90s velocity in his inning of work mopping up Sunday's mess, and didn't appear to be working all that hard.
Sort of makes me wonder if he shouldn't have been made a pitcher from the get-go.