The Twins needed to make a change in their starting rotation, and they've made it. Yohan Pino will start on Thursday.
Yohan Pino to start Thursday. Samuel Deduno to bullpen— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) June 17, 2014
This brings up a small set of other problems. The biggest of which would be where Pino's 40-man roster spot comes from, but it sounds like Minnesota will simply shift Mike Pelfrey to the 60-day disabled list to clear a space.
The other question is: whose spot on the 25-man roster will Pino take? It's easy to look at a guy like Matt Guerrier or Jared Burton, or even Anthony Swarzak, but there's every chance that the Twins will look to remove a position player and return to a three-man bench for a time. Minnesota will make a corresponding move before the game on Thursday.
Pino, 30, was signed out of Venezuela by the Twins as a non-drafted free agent in 2004. He spent four and a half seasons in the organization before being dealt to the Indians in return for Carl Pavano in 2009. At the time Pino was seen as an arm with some potential, but he moved slowly and after bouncing to Cincinnati and Toronto's systems, became a free agent over the winter. Minnesota welcomed him back into the fold in December.
Since 2011, Pino has bounced between the rotation and the bullpen at each of his stops. This season has been no different, having made seven starts and seven relief appearances for Triple-A Rochester. He's struck out 61 in 61 innings, allowing just 41 hits and averaging less than a base runner per inning.
No, he's not the sexiest of options for a callup, but Pino has earned this. His minor league numbers have almost always been good, not great, but this season it's fair to say that, yes, he's been great.
Let's see if the Twins can't continue to find heroes from the unlikeliest of places. Give 'em hell, Yohan.