ATLANTA — After giving up a career-worst eight runs in just 3 2/3 innings against the Braves on Wednesday, Vance Worley was optioned to Triple-A Rochester after the game. The Twins will make a corresponding roster move on Friday, presumably to bring up Samuel Deduno to start against the Tigers.
Worley, who was the club’s Opening Day starter and was acquired in the trade that sent Ben Revere to Philadelphia this offseason, has struggled his year with a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts. The right-hander struck out just 25, walked 15 and served up nine homers over 48 3/3 innings.
“I just need to work on being myself and getting back to what I was doing,” said Worley, who had a career 3.50 ERA in three seasons with the Phillies. “They haven’t seen what I’ve been capable of doing. Ever since I’ve been here, it’s been a battle so I need to figure it out.”
Worley left the ball up against the Braves and ended up giving up 10 hits and three homers, including a grand slam to Evan Gattis.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Worley needs to work on locating his pitches better while pitching down in Rochester.
“We’re counting on him,” Gardenhire said. “He has to pitch better than that. He needs to get the ball down and start making quality pitches. Even time he makes a bad pitch they make him pay for it. He can turn it around but he needs to make that happen.”
ATLANTA — Right-hander Samuel Deduno, not prospect Kyle Gibson, will start against the Tigers on Friday at Comerica Park.
The Twins still need to make the roster move official by placing Deduno on both the 25-man and 40-man roster. They’ll make corresponding moves before Friday’s game with Darin Mastroianni or Tim Wood the likely candidates to be placed on the 60-day disabled list to clear room on the 40-man roster.
Deduno, who was slated to start for Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday, was chosen over Gibson, right-hander P.J. Walters and left-hander Andrew Albers. Deduno threw a bullpen on Tuesday instead of starting for the Red Wings and will join the team Thursday night in Detroit.
“We had four very good options,” Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. “Gibson had two of three good outings but we want to see more consistency. Let him back it up a few times. So we went with Deduno. But Walters pitching well and so was Albers. But we discussed it and thought the best matchup for Detroit was Deduno.”
Deduno, 29, made 15 starts for the Twins last year, posting a 4.44 ERA with 57 strikeouts and 53 walks in 79 innings. He also faced the Tigers twice, giving up three runs over seven innings at Target Field on Aug. 13 and surrendering seven runs on seven hits over 2 1/3 innings at Comerica Park on Sept. 22.
Deduno was likely to make the club’s rotation to start the season after starring for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic but injured his groin in the title game and began the season injured. But he returned to action on May 5 and posted a 2.70 ERA in three starts with Rochester with 17 strikeouts and 10 walks over 16 2/3 innings to get the nod against Detroit.
“He’s been throwing good,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We saw him for the World games and he got hurt but he’s back out there striking people out. You’re going to get a guy who puts some fear in people’s hearts. He can wing it and snap off some stuff off. I don’t think he’s afraid of going against those big boys in Detroit.”
Gibson, ranked as the No. 49 overall prospect by MLB.com, was also a top candidate, as he’s thrown shutouts in two of his last three outings with Rochester. But the 25-year-old has yet to throw back-to-back quality starts in his nine outings this year despite an impressive 3.25 ERA and 46 strikeouts and just 14 walks in 52 2/3 innings.
“He’s had one good start, one bad start, one good start, one bad start so we’re looking for him hopefully put together some starts before we bring him up,” Gardenhire said. “Because with that guy you want to call him up so that he stays here. And right now he’s just not there.”
Antony also dismissed the notion that Gibson wasn’t called up for service time or arbitration reasons, as he pointed to rookies Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Arcia as examples of players called up early in the season by the Twins without any regard to service time.
“If he’s good enough, it doesn’t matter,” Antony said.
MINNEAPOLIS — Joe Mauer was held out of the lineup against the Red Sox on Friday because of back stiffness, and is day to day.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the injury isn’t serious, as Mauer woke up with a sore back and the decision was made to keep him out for precautionary reasons. Ryan Doumit started at catcher in his place and hit fifth.
“It’s pretty simple here — he came in with a stiff back and there’s no sense of him playing in this weather,” Gardenhire said. “[The trainers] said to give him a day here and we’ll go from there. I listen to what they say.”
Mauer has been on fire recently, as he’s currently in the midst of a 14-game hit streak. He’s hitting .446 (25-for-56) with 11 doubles and 11 walks over that span to raise his batting average to .349 with a .431 on-base percentage.
But he didn’t take batting practice before Friday’s game and his return for Saturday is still questionable.
“We’re hoping this is short-term,” Gardenhire said. “We’re hoping he can play tomorrow.”
With Mauer out, Chris Parmelee also made his first-ever start as the club’s No. 2 hitter. Gardenhire said he went with Parmelee because he sees so many pitches. He ranks third on the team with 4.19 pitches seen per plate appearance behind Mauer (4.28) and Josh Willingham (4.19).