For the first time in weeks, the Twins officially have a full four-man bench. Considering there were games in recent days where the team had one player available off the bench due to minor injuries, having four position players available is nigh on a luxury.
The specifics involve Michael Tonkin being optioned to Triple-A Rochester, while "outfielder" Chris Herrmann is recalled. Tonkin had thrown a pair of scoreless innings in relief prior to his demotion, but this is a move that had the writing on the wall. Staff wanted Tonkin to start throwing more pitches than just his fastball, and no doubt a rough start to May was enough impetus to shift him back to the Red WIngs where he can work on his off-speed offerings with less on the line.
Tonkin was lights out in April, making nine appearances for a total of seven innings, striking out five, walking one, and allowing just a solitary run. But May has been more difficult, as he was charged with runs in three of his first four appearances of the month. He had recorded four strikeouts but four walks and nine hits, leading to ten runs (seven earned) prior to yesterday afternoon's demotion.
In his stead comes Herrmann, who was up for a couple of weeks earlier this season. He's appeared in 15 games for the Twins, hitting just .128 with a .319 OPS, but he does give the Twins some defensive versatility. As an emergency catcher, he allows Gardy to put both Kurt Suzuki and Josmil Pinto in the same lineup without fear of putting a non-catcher behind the plate if something untoward were to occur. He also gives Gardy another option in the outfield and at first base.
My question is: what does this mean for Chris Colabello? Herrmann's defensive positions give Gardy more options than he needs, especially in right field, and Colabello's struggles have been well-documented here over the course of the last week or so. He's hitless in his last nine games, last getting a hit on May 8. He sat in two of this weekend's three games, and was lifted in the sixth of the game on Saturday.
We'll see you back here later today for more.