On Friday afternoon the Twins placed Tim Stauffer on the disabled list with an intercostal strain. It's the same issue that put Brian Duensing on the shelf, and oddly enough these are the only two times I've ever heard of this injury, but we knew that the club was facing a decision or two with their pitching staff that might be forced. Perhaps this wasn't a forced change, as Ryan Pressly was immediately recalled to take Stauffer's place instead of keeping the roster spot open for one of the other returning pitchers, but that's obviously not the only move the Twins have made in the last day.
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The big moves that the team announced today are the returns of Duensing and Ricky Nolasco, while Caleb Thielbar and Tommy Milone both head to Triple-A. We knew that Nolasco would be returning for today's start versus the White Sox and we knew that Duensing could return today and it was more or less expected that Thielbar would be one of the lefties to be trimmed out of the bullpen, but the decision on Milone was definitely unexpected.
Molitor and the Twins were forced into making some kind of a move today that wouldn't have been made under normal circumstances. On Thursday when it was announced that Milone was heading to the bullpen, Minnesota was facing a situation where he would be joining Duensing, Thielbar, Thompson, and Perkins as one of five lefty relievers. Forget the overpopulation problem with the right-handers; two of those five southpaws were going to have to go.
All things considered, optioning Milone to Triple-A makes a level of sense. Perkins as the closer wasn't going anywhere; Thompson has been pitching well; Duensing was just activated; Milone is a starting pitcher. I'm sure he's not happy about it, but he hasn't been pitching well and there's an advantage to keeping him stretched out.
My only question is: does this mean that Alex Meyer is now number two in line to help out the rotation when the time comes? We knew that the Twins would be facing the dilemma of finding Major League innings for all the starters who need them.
After all of that, the good news is that Phil Hughes has been cleared to make his start on Monday. If you're keeping score at home, Minnesota's rotation now includes Hughes, Gibson, Nolasco, Pelfrey, and May, while the bullpen features Perkins, Duensing, Graham, Tonkin, Thompson, Pressly, and Boyer. Giddyup.