It’s no secret that Major League Baseball clubs are having issues patching up their starting rotations because of injuries. Unfortunately, the Minnesota Twins have not been exempt from this as they’ve seen Rich Hill, Homer Bailey, and Jake Odorizzi hit the Injured List within the past two weeks, and Odorizzi hasn’t even made a start yet this season. Of course, the depth is, well, not deep, and the front office has had to make a unique decision.
T.C. Bear is going to make a starting appearance for the Twins.
“Yeah, we got together on Zoom and we just hashed out some ideas,” said Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey. “We didn’t want to risk it putting anyone else out there, so we thought, ‘Why not T.C.?’”
Falvey says that T.C. did a bullpen session and although it took some time, he was able to show the pitches that fans can expect to see in his first start. “He’ll throw a low-50s fastball - I think it’s a two-seamer, kinda hard to tell,” said General Manager Thad Levine. “I think he threw something like a slider that was in the high-40s, too. I don’t know.”
“His cutter has some movement,” commented pitching coach Wes Johnson. “We’re working on it.” He declined to say anything else.
“We just had to think outside the box, you know,” noted manager Rocco Baldelli. “This is definitely something different, but we’ll work with it and I’m sure the guys can put up some runs behind him to help the cause.”
Asked if they reached out to any “actual” starting pitchers that might be available in free agency, Falvey said, “We reached out to a few, yeah. Tried calling Carl Pavano, but he said he’s busy tearing up the streets of Reno. Kevin Slowey’s phone number is dead and Joe Mays only uses a telegraph now, so we’re still trying to establish a connection.”
When T.C. makes his first pitch to a batter during a game, he’ll be the first mascot to do such a task in MLB history. “He’s really gotta have that downward plane,” said former Twins pitcher and FOX Sports North analyst Bert Blyleven.
“Yeah we got on the Zoom thing and talked about it,” said owner Jim Pohlad. “Kids’ll love it, the old folks will think it’s cute as heck, and I don’t think we have to pay him that much and that’s what matters.”