Tyler Duffey's disappointing spring has been in the wind for a while now. His slow start, combined with Ricky Nolasco's apparent readiness, began to really take hold over the last week or so, and it's now gone from a plausible scenario to reality: Nolasco will the the Twins' fifth starter. Duffey will join Jose Berrios and Alex Meyer in the Red Wings' rotation.
Duffey did some extra work on the minor league side from time to time over the last few weeks, but officially he recorded four starts in spring training. Against Toronto and Pittsburgh he got a little roughed up. Pitching against Boston he garnered good results but was still focused more on getting his off-speed pitches ready than he was just trying to get batters out; even in that contest far too many of his pitches were going for strikes. Unfortunately, at this level, if you're getting into the latter stages of spring training and you're still trying to bring pitches online, something isn't working.
So Minnesota turns to Nolasco. He's been efficient and he's looked strong, and in his starts against Tampa Bay on March 23 he may have officially put himself into the conversation for the rotation. He shut the Rays down, giving up three hits and no runs with seven strikeouts in six innings. When you talk about a guy looking ready for the regular season, that was exactly the kind of outing the brain trust is looking for.
Ryan O'Rourke certainly had a good spring as well. He appeared in eight games, putting together 6.1 innings of 1.35 ERA baseball. Most encouraging was that opponents weren't getting on base. A few balls in play were hit hard but they didn't seem to hurt him as batters posted a meager .100 batting average against.
The Twins have also reassigned Brandon Kintzler and Logan Darnell to minor league camp. This means that the Opening Day bullpen for the Twins will be:
- Glen Perkins
- Kevin Jepsen
- Trevor May
- Casey Fien
- Fernando Abad
- Michael Tonkin
- Ryan Pressly
We'll get the official Opening Day roster post up momentarily.