Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rotation repair into infinity

P.J. Walters was charged with four earned runs in zero
innings Wednesday, which raised his ERA to 5.40.
P.J. Walters gave up four hits on 15 pitches Wednesday evening, at which point Ron Gardenhire came out to check on him (and then pull him from the game). Cory Provus said on the radio broadcast that Walters' fastball was short of its usual velocity -- and his usual velocity is not all that fast -- and Dan Gladden suggested that Walters has been dealing with shoulder issues in his two previous starts.

The Twins quickly announced that Walters would have an MRI exam on his shoulder today, an indication that this may not be a minor issue. After the game, Gardenhire said Lester Oliveros was being recalled from Triple A, with a corresponding move to be made after they get a diagnosis on Walters.

Also coming soon is a move to recall Liam Hendriks from Rochester to make Saturday's start, so a second roster slot needs to be opened. The Twins have another off day on Monday, so they could skip Walters' rotation slot for the next turn through.

My guess: They'll put Walters on the disabled list and send Jeff Manship back to Rochester this week.

Who will take Walters' place in the rotation next week? Carl Pavano is eligible to come off the DL on June 19, but as of Tuesday hadn't thrown a ball since his last start; he's not an immediate solution.

Cole DeVries might get another call-up. Or Brian Duensing, who has been much improved against righties this season out of the bullpen, could be called on to start. Or perhaps my Manship-to-the-minors notion was premature, and he'll get the ball the next time they need a fifth starter. But in that case, somebody else has to come off the active roster.

Decisions, decisions.

Addendum: Seth Stohs offers a detailed breakdown of the projected Twins and Rochester rotations here. His conclusion on the Twins rotation: They'll go with four starters for a while (Diamond, Liriano, Hendriks and Blackburn) and turn to Manship to fill the fifth starter gap when that becomes necessary.

It make sense. But there's still that nagging issue of how to get both Hendriks and Oliveros on the 25-man roster, one made all the more difficult by the desire to stay at 12 pitchers heading into the interleague road games (and no DH).

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