Thursday, June 4, 2015

The roster shuffle

Tommy Milone starts
today, but we don't
yet know who leaves
the active roster
to make room for him.
Between Monday's rainout, Wednesday's resultant doubleheader and the mystery of Ricky Nolasco's ankle, the Twins are in another period of roster instability.

There was another noteworthy roster move unrelated to the rainout or Nolasco's uncertainity, but I'll get to that in a moment.

Michael Tonkin -- who in my opinion ought to be on the roster anyway -- got a one-day reprieve from last week's demotion to serve as the 26th man for Wednesday's twin bill. He appeared in the day game, gave up a homer, and now returns to Rochester. As I understand the rainout roster expansion rule, the emergency callup cannot remain.

Tommy Milone -- he of the one earned run allowed in five Triple A starts -- is to be added to the roster and start today. Kyle Gibson gets his start pushed back to Friday. Nolasco is tentatively scheduled to start Saturday, but that depends on how his troublesome ankle responds to a scheduled bullpen session today. If he is deemed able to go Saturday, somebody else has to go to make room for Milone on the roster. If Nolasco goes on the DL, the question of how Milone fits on the 25-man roster is answered, but Saturday becomes a "bullpen game." Which has been known to be the case with Nolasco starts anyway.

Nolasco is said to be resistant to another stint on the disabled list, and I don't blame him. But I don't like the other choices for fitting Milone on the active roster or in the rotation. Shelving Nolasco is the simplest solution. The other routes are more complicated.

Then there's the Oswaldo Arcia move announced between games Wednesday. The slugger was officially activated off the disabled list and optioned to Triple A Rochester, where he's been on a rehab assignment and struggling at the plate.

The Twins didn't have to make that move Wednesday -- there's still time on Arcia's rehab clock -- so it raised some eyebrows. But it fit my view that the Twins are now serious about outfield defense, and that part of that emphasis involves not having a set DH. Arcia remains a poor fielder, and, as with Kennys Vargas, there's only part-time at-bats available at DH. With all the pitchers on the roster, the bench guys have to have some defensive role.

In that view, Arcia simply doesn't fit. There's another factor to this timing, however, one that doesn't involve fidelity to the notion of outfield defense. Arcia's option clock is now started, He can be recalled in 10 days, If the Twins actually want to bring him back soon but deemed him unlikely to be ready when his rehab eligibility expired, optioning him now quickens when he can return to the big club.

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