Lost in all the roster moves that the Minnesota Twins made these past two weeks was the fact that the club also called up pitcher Lewis Thorpe’s pet kangaroo, Skippy, to help reinforce a then-depleted bullpen. The Twins and the Tampa Bay Rays had completed an 18-inning duel that ended in a Minnesota loss, using every member of the bullpen and even starter Kyle Gibson for one inning.
When asked about the situation, Twins skipper Rocco Baldelli was quoted as saying, “Yeah, we were going to call up Thorpe, but he said he would not join the club without his pet kangaroo, so we just went with it.” Pitching coach Wes Johnson had a different take. “I don’t know what to do with him, honestly. I mean, Skip just hops around in the bullpen and sniffs the dirt. Trevor May tried to hand him a baseball and he ended up getting kicked in the eye.”
Thorpe told coaches that Skippy has a “pretty mean fastball” that clocks at around 75 miles-per-hour, but the Twins staff hasn’t seen evidence of that yet. “No, we haven’t really seen him actually pitch,” said Johnson. “He was standing on the top of the mound for a few minutes and he tried to hop up and kick the ball, but it ended up in the outfield somewhere. I think that’s a balk, isn’t it?”
When Baldelli made the call to the bullpen to get Skippy warmed up during Friday’s contest against the Chicago White Sox, he was nowhere to be found. “Thorpe was out in the bullpen talking to one of the other relievers and he turned around and the ‘roo wasn’t there. Nowhere to be found,” said Baldelli. An exhaustive search for the kangaroo lead to a local international market where Skippy was eyeing some Vegemite on a shelf.
The new addition to the bullpen has some relievers concerned. “I dunno, there’s a lot of stuff around in the bullpen now and it’s getting kinda crowded,” said reliever Taylor Rogers. “There’s some shrimp on a grill the whole game in the corner behind the catchers. Pretty sure that’s a fire hazard.”
“He just keeps staring at me,” said May with a black eye.
“That’s just the way he is,” said Thorpe. “He’s just a boomer that misses the land down under and all that. He’ll get used to it. Skippy’s pretty decent with the ball, though, mate. You’ll see.”