Casey Fien's right shoulder strain dropped him on the disabled list yesterday officially, and Michael Tonkin made his 2015 Twins debut last night. It was just one pitch, but Tonkin got his out and got the Twins out of the eighth inning. In eight games for the Red Wings this season Tonkin had converted five saves, striking out ten and walking two in 7.1 innings with a 2.45 ERA. In 85 career innings at Triple-A, Tonkin owns a 3.39 ERA with 92 strikeouts in 85 innings. It will be interesting to see if the Twins find a way to keep him with the Twins when other arms are ready to return.
Here's the latest on the Twins' injury situation
Hughes has a left hip flexor strain that cropped up during his start on Wednesday. These muscles are very important to pitchers as they are responsible for the movement of bringing the knee up towards the chest. While these strains have three grades depending on how serious the tears in the muscle fiber are, right now the Twins are playing it as though it's a Grade 1 - which means a few days recovery time and no trip to the disabled list.
Monday the fourth of May is when Hughes' turn in the rotation comes up again, although the return of Ricky Nolasco (see below) could allow the Twins to push him back a full spin through the rotation if necessary. We should get a better idea of Hughes' prognosis by the end of the weekend.
A right knee MCL sprain always sounds terrible. Like Hughes, Schafer left the game early on Wednesday as well. Fortunately for Schafer the injury doesn't look serious, although his return is yet to be determined. He was obviously not in the lineup last night, so we'll see whether Paul Molitor gives him another day or two before seeing where Schafer is at. For now, it looks like he'll avoid a trip to the disabled list.
We covered Duensing's intercostal strain when he initially went on the disabled list. It sounds like it was a minor strain, as the team is aiming to bring him back in time for Saturday's game. He had a 30-pitch simulated game on Thursday and there have been no issues. Whether the Twins actually activate him on Saturday or wait another day or two - we'll see. The bullpen currently features three lefties in Glen Perkins, Aaron Thompson, and Caleb Thielbar; I'd guess that Thielbar would be the player to return.
As touched on above, Nolasco will return to action for the Twins on Saturday. He'll start, meaning that with six starters Minnesota has the luxury of waiting an extra few days on Hughes' strain should they choose to delay a decision. But if Hughes is ready to go in his turn, it sounds like it will be Tommy Milone shifting to the bullpen.
Nolasco has been rehabbing for the last couple of weeks. He'll have a reduced pitch count to work with on Saturday night, so if things go awry Milone could get an early look in his new role.