By finally sending Ricky Nolasco to the disabled list, the Twins are admitting what's been apparent for a while: something hasn't been right with their prize free agent pitcher. Nolasco has always been a solidly middle-of-the-rotation type of pitcher, which is exactly what the Twins paid him $49 million dollars to be over the next few years. That obviously hasn't worked out so far.
In 18 outings Nolasco put in six quality starts, and only two starts all season saw him turn in a game score higher than 60. While his command was fine in terms of handing out walks, he was consistently laying pitches through the middle of the zone. Those breaking balls were ridiculous. Its not a surprise that opponents crushed him to the tune of a .330/.368/.538 triple slash.
With an elbow strain it's difficult to say how long Nolasco will be out, but considering that this is something that's probably been nagging him on and off all season he's certain to need his full 15 days on the disabled list and, realistically, probably more. While Chris Herrmann will take his roster spot for the time being, there are only six games left until the All-Star break. Samuel Deduno will presumably take Nolasco's scheduled start on Friday.
Once we get past the All-Star break, we should see the Twins turn to either Alex Meyer or Trevor May - depending on May's recovery from the calf issue. When Nolasco is healthy and ready to pitch for the Twins again it's possible he'd be tried in the bullpen, but the team isn't paying him to be a reliever. I have to believe they'll find a way to get him into the rotation if it's at all feasible.
For now, Gardy is back to a four-man bench. Such as it is.