Thursday, August 11, 2016

May's back is back

Trevor May came off
the DL on July 5 and
had a 2.87 ERA since.
The Twins put Trevor May on the disabled list Wednesday morning with a repeat of his back problems.

This is the third time May has been sidelined by back issues since the Twins put him in the bullpen after the All-Star break last season. As one who has dealt with a herniated disc for some 18 years I'm a bit wary of concluding that May's bullpen assignment is responsible for the back problems, but the possible connection can't be overlooked.

But reinstalling May as a starter once this flareup is resolved isn't all that simple. Part of the reason he went to the bullpen, after all, is that the Twins had a bunch of other starters with contracts or potential. The departure of Ricky Nolasco didn't clear any room, because Hector Santiago took his place.

The Twins rotation now has Ervin Santana, Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson, Tyler Duffey and Santiago, none of whom is a free-agent to be. Phil Hughes is expected back next year as well, and there's Tommy Milone as well.

May makes eight potential starters for the next general manager to sort through, and there is limited roster flexibility involved. Pitching surpluses have a way of becoming pitching shortages, of course -- two of these eight are on the disabled list right now, obviously -- but what I thought obvious last offseason remains true today: Somebody's got to go.

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