Friday, May 1, 2015

The day-to-day roster

The Twins dealt with the Wednesday injuries in typical minimalist fashion Thursday. Casey Fien did go on the disabled list with Michael Tonkin added to the active roster, but the Phil Hughes is expected to make his next start, and Jordan Schafer is said to be good to go.

Which doesn't mean there won't moves ahead. It's a day-to-day roster right now. Ricky Nolasco and Brian Duensing are to come off the disabled list as early as Saturday, which means two pitchers have to come off the active roster. The return of Caleb Thielbar to Rochester (for Duensing) seems fairly obvious.

So did the demotion of Trevor May, and on that count I was pleased to hear that May is staying. Nolasco's return, at least for now, means moving Tommy Milone to the bullpen, and while Milone's track record as a starter is superior to those of Nolasco or Mike Pelfrey, I'm not terribly upset about it. This is a temporary measure, I'm sure. There will be an injury or trade before long.

For immediate purposes, another relief pitcher has to go. One obvious possibility, at least to some of us, is the designation of Tim Stauffer for assignment. I believe Stauffer's days are numbered, but also that those numbers are still in double digits -- the Twins seldom undo offseason decisions like that one until mid-May at earliest.

One aspect of this is the vacant role of right-handed setup relief. Imagine that the Twins DIDN'T have to cut down the roster. The bullpen, with Milone added and Thielbar subtracted: would be eight deep:

Lefties: Glen Perkins, Aaron Thompson, Duensing, Milone
Righties: Blaine Boyer, J.R. Graham, Tonkin, Stauffer

Look at those righties and tell me who's getting the ball in the eighth, where Fien has been. Everything we've seen so far says it will be Boyer. I'd prefer Tonkin, but Paul Molitor and Terry Ryan (and probably others in the organization) clearly like Boyer more.

I think (hope?) that the Twins are committed to keeping Graham in a low-leverage role. If Stauffer is sticking for a couple more weeks, that leaves Tonkin for a boomerang return to Rochester. It really would be better to dump Stauffer now, but I don't expect that.

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