Saturday, July 7, 2012

Plan H (for Horrible)

Sam Deduno has
pitched 5.2 innings
in the majors, but
this will be his
first start.
Today Sam Deduno is to be the 11th starting pitcher deployed by the Twins this season.

Eleven starters before the All-Star break. That's probably not a record, but it's hardly a characteristic of winning teams.

Plan A was a set of five veterans, each making a minimum of $3 million -- Carl Pavano, Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Nick Blackburn and Jason Marquis. That plan didn't make it out of Fort Myers. Between injury and ineffectiveness, the only one of that five now in the rotation is Liriano, and he was displaced himself for a while.

Plan B was Liam Hendriks, and he has been twice demoted to the minors. Plan C was Anthony Swarzak, and he pitched his way into a bullpen role (which he's filled nicely). Then came Scott Diamond (yeah!), P.J. Walters, Cole DeVries, Brian Duesning and now Deduno.

That makes Deduno, a 29-year-old Dominican, Plan H. Nobody is deep enough in pitching to have ... wait for it ... preparation H.

To be fair to him, he probably isn't, and wasn't, the 11th best starter in the organization. He was a non-roster  invitee to spring training, and guys on the 40-man roster logically get the first crack. He was on the minor league disabled list when DeVries was called up, might have been when Walters was too.

Deduno is out of a different mold than most of the right-handers the Twins have trotted out. He is said to have a good fastball, an even better curve, and control issues. In 42 innings in Rochester (nine starts) he has 46 strikeouts and 22 walks, a 2.14 ERA. He also spent some time on the disabled list.

I would expect to see better stuff than from Walters or DeVries, but less idea of how to use it.

If nothing else, Deduno is something different than Blackburn throwing batting practice. But how, or if, he'll fit into the rotation plans after the break remains to be seen. I assume he's out of options, as is Walters, who made his second (and final scheduled) rehab start Friday. If the Twins don't want to waive either, DeVries is the most likely demotion possibility. 

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