Poor Michael Tonkin. Unable to secure a stable roster spot in numerous small samples he continues to be shuttled between Minnesota and Rochester. In spite of a 2.45 ERA in 415 minor league innings, including 428 strikeouts and 108 walks, Tonkin can't shake the role of the bubble reliever.
Just this year, Tonkin started the year in Rochester, was called up and made his 2015 Twins debut on April 30, was sent back down at the end of May, was back up for a day as the 26th man during a double-header on June 3, went back to Rochester, and after four more appearances after getting called up he's now headed back for his fourth stint with the Red Wings in the first three months of the year.
None of that means the move isn't defendable. Blaine Boyer, J.R. Graham, Ryan Pressly, and Casey Fien have all done reasonably well this year, being effective in spite of red flag peripherals. And in spite of the strong strikeout rate, it's not as though Tonkin looked good. He's allowed runs in five of 16 appearances this year, four of which have included a home run. Not a great performance in 11 innings, small sample size theatre or not.
The corresponding move will apparently come tomorrow, in advance of a six-game stretch in National League parks. No designated hitter means the Twins already have a four-man bench, but they could add Jorge Polanco or Oswaldo Arcia if they wanted another position player...or Alex Meyer if they want an impact arm in the bullpen.
Could we be seeing Meyer's debut this weekend? Even as a reliever, I hope so.