DETROIT — After missing five games with lower back spasms, Joe Mauer returned to the lineup on Saturday against the Tigers, starting at designated hitter and batting third.
Mauer was able to hit in the cages without any issues before the game, and told Twins manager Ron Gardenhire he was also able to run the bases. So Gardenhire called it an easy decision to put Mauer in the lineup for the first time since Sunday.
“He came in and got to the park early and did some stuff and said he wanted to play,” Gardenhire said. “The trainers said the same thing. He feels good and can run all the bases and all those things.”
Gardenhire added he was relieved Mauer was able to avoid the 15-day disabled list, as it would’ve kept him out of action until May 20 against the Padres.
“With backs, it’s something you don’t want to deal with too much,” Gardenhire said. “When you start feeling better you always want to give it a few extra days. I’ve had it and we’ve all had it, and it’s just not very fun. So I’m just happy to see him in here wanting to play.”
DETROIT — The Twins reinstated outfielder Aaron Hicks from the seven-day concussion disabled list and promoted first baseman/outfielder Chris Parmelee from Triple-A Rochester, the club announced before Friday’s game against the Tigers.
The moves came after the Twins optioned catcher/outfielder Chris Herrmann and shortstop Pedro Florimon to Rochester on Wednesday. Both made their return to the lineup, as Hicks started in center field and batted eighth, while Parmelee started in right field and hit seventh. Eduardo Nunez, who was recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Thursday with outfielder Sam Fuld being placed on the seven-day concussion DL, started at designated hitter.
First baseman Joe Mauer, however, was held out of the lineup for a fifth straight day with lower back spasms. He took soft toss before the game, and could potentially be available to pinch-hit on Friday. The Twins remain hopeful he’ll return on Saturday or Sunday as designated hitter.
“We were getting pretty thin,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We also have Nunez now for a full day. We actually have a bench and three outfielders in the outfield, which is a good thing.”
Hicks suffered a concussion May 1 against the Dodgers in the second game of a split doubleheader, when he crashed into the center-field wall in the sixth inning. Friday was the first day he was eligible to return. He said he was able to start taking batting practice on Wednesday after the concussion symptoms began to subside.
“I had it for about for about three days but by the fourth day I was feeling better,” said Hicks, who said he suffered from fogginess. “From then on it was all about getting better and getting ready to play in games.”
The contract of Parmelee was selected from Triple-A, as he was outrighted off the 40-man roster by the Twins in late March and had to be added back on the roster. In 32 games with the Red Wings, Parmelee hit .305/.378/.542 with seven doubles, seven home runs and 23 RBIs.
“I was staying aggressive at the plate,” Parmelee said. “Sometimes I thought I would get too passive on a pitch that was good enough to hit. Sometimes I’d wait for a pitch I wanted in an exact spot instead of trying to hit a pitch I could I still drive. So I just tried to keep the aggressiveness up at the plate and my confidence up.”
In order to clear a spot for Parmelee on the 40-man roster, the Twins designated Double-A outfielder Kenny Wilson for assignment. Minnesota claimed Wilson off waivers from Toronto on April 24. Wilson played in 11 games at New Britain, hitting .195/.327/.268 with three doubles and three stolen bases.
MINNEAPOLIS — Top prospect Byron Buxton, who sprained his left wrist in a Minor League Spring Training game on March 16, was officially activated from the 7-day disabled list at Class A Advanced Fort Myers on Sunday.
Buxton, ranked as the No. 1 overall prospect by MLB.com, had been playing in extended Spring Training games since April 26. He’s expected to play at Fort Myers until he’s deemed ready to move up to Double-A New Britain.
“He joined the Miracle today because he passed everything he needed to do in extended,” Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. “Now we’ll get him in over there with the Miracle and get him going. If he gets rolling and it looks like he’s in mid-season form and ready to go, we’ll move him up to New Britain where we planed to have him be. He played his way out of this league last year but we’ll give him enough time here to get going.”
Buxton, 20, dominated the Florida State League last year, hitting .326/.415/.472 with four homers, four doubles, eight triples and 23 stolen bases in 57 games with Fort Myers.
Buxton originally injured his wrist while trying to make a diving catch in center field during a Minor League Spring Training game in Fort Myers.
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins made it official on Saturday, as they placed right-hander Mike Pelfrey on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain and recalled shortstop Danny Santana from Triple-A Rochester.
Santana joined the Twins on Saturday but wasn’t in the starting lineup. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he plans to use Santana in a variety of roles, including the outfield with Santana getting work there during batting practice before Saturday’s game.
“We’ll use him in the infield/outfield, whatever,” Gardenhire said. “We just needed a body and he was on the roster. We liked him in Spring Training. He can run. He can play the outfield so he’s going to take some fly balls in the outfield. So we’ll find ways to get him in there.”
Santana, ranked as the club’s No. 10 prospect by MLB.com, was hitting .268/.311/.381 with seven doubles and four stolen bases in 24 games at Rochester. He said he found out the news he’d be called up from Rochester manager Gene Glynn while taking batting practice on Friday, and arrived in the Twin Cities at around 1 a.m.
“I was on the field taking batting practice and Geno told me, ‘You are going to the big leagues,’ and I was so happy,” Santana said. “It’s nice. I’m very excited to be here.”
Pelfrey, meanwhile, will be replaced in the rotation by right-hander Samuel Deduno, who will start Tuesday in Cleveland. Pelfrey said he injured his groin during the first inning of the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Dodgers. He said he’ll let his groin rest for a few days before going out on a rehab assignment, and maintained that his arm is healthy despite his 7.99 ERA in five starts.
“I wasn’t throwing the ball as well as I’d like so maybe this is a blessing in disguise,” Pelfrey said. “It’ll be a chance to decompress and get this thing right.”
UPDATE: Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony confirmed shortstop Danny Santana will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester.
MINNEAPOLIS — Right-hander Mike Pelfrey will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained groin after Friday’s game against the Orioles, and will be replaced in the rotation by right-hander Samuel Deduno. The Twins will announce a corresponding roster move after the game.
Pelfrey has struggled so far this season with a 7.99 ERA in five starts, including another subpar outing in Game 1 of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Dodgers, giving up five runs over four innings.
Pelfrey maintained after his start that he was healthy but told Twins manager Ron Gardenhire on Friday that he was dealing with a groin injury. The Twins are hopeful it’ll help Pelfrey regain his velocity, as his fastball is averaging 91 mph this year after averaging 92.4 mph last year, according to Fangraphs.com. Pelfrey has also struggled with his control with 18 walks in 23 2/3 innings.
“He came in today saying his groin was bothering him,” Gardenhire said. “He tweaked it yesterday and didn’t want to make any excuses. He came in today sore. We told him this might give him an opportunity to get his leg well. And then he can go on a rehab assignment and try to get it straightened out. So it’s two-fold, get healthy and also figure out why his velocity has dropped down.”
Deduno will move from long relief into the rotation to take Pelfrey’s place. Deduno has a 2.89 ERA with 18 strikeouts and nine walks in 18 1/2 innings this season. He also threw 64 pitches in relief on Pelfrey on Friday. Deduno made 18 starts last year, posting a 3.83 ERA with 67 strikeouts and 41 walks over 108 innings.
“We like what he did last year at times so we’ll see what happens and go from there,” Gardenhire said.
Gardenhire added that outfielder Oswaldo Arcia will not be recalled from Triple-A Rochester, as he’s still on his rehab assignment. Arcia has been on the DL with a right wrist strain since April 5. Infielder Eduardo Nunez is also still out with an oblique strain at Rochester.
Shortstop Danny Santana is considered the most likely player to be recalled, as he’s on the 40-man roster and is ranked as the club’s No. 10 overall prospect, according to MLB.com. He’s hitting .268/.311/.381 with seven doubles and four stolen bases in 24 games at Rochester
MINNEAPOLIS — It was more of the same on Thursday from Mike Pelfrey, and now the Twins will explore their options with the right-hander moving forward.
Pelfrey continued his early-season struggles to hand the Twins a 9-4 loss to the Dodgers in Game 1 of a split doubleheader at Target Field.
Pelfrey, who entered with a 7.32 ERA in four starts, turned in another poor outing, as he lasted a season-low four innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and three walks. He’s yet to go more than 5 1/3 innings in any of his outings this year, and is 0-3 with a 7.99 ERA.
“It’s frustrating,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He reverted back to the pace thing and didn’t throw it over enough. We were on the field a lot and he threw 85 pitches in four innings. So we just have to figure out what we need to do next and where we need to go next. We’ll sit down and talk with the pitching coach, the pitcher and everybody involved to see where we go with this.”
Gardenhire added that the Twins haven’t ruled out moving Pelfrey to the bullpen but will meet with Pelfrey and pitching coach Rick Anderson before making a decision.
Pelfrey was frustrated with himself after the game, and said he can’t put a finger on why his velocity is down this year and why he’s had so much trouble with his control. He’s walked 18 batters in 23 2/3 innings this season.
“It was the same thing that had been going for the last month — I was terrible,” Pelfrey said. “It was the same stuff of not locating your fastball, leaving pitches over the middle and walking guys. It’s been the same for five starts. It’s terrible. I’m sure the coaching staff and Gardy are frustrated but I’m more frustrated than anybody.”
He said he’d be OK with a move to the bullpen to try to straighten himself out but wasn’t sure of his status until meeting with Gardenhire and Anderson.
“I probably wouldn’t be happy but obviously I’m not helping the team every five days,” Pelfrey said. “So I’d accept it and do the best I can.”
Right-hander Samuel Deduno went four innings in relief, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks with four strikeouts. He threw 62 pitches, and is a candidate to join the rotation.
“Sammy is fine,” Gardenhire said. “He just has to get into a routine, too. We stretched him out pretty good today and we’ll make a decision here.”
MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins’ scheduled game with the Dodgers on Tuesday at Target Field was postponed due to inclement weather, and it will be made up as part of a split doubleheader on Thursday.
It marked the second straight game postponed due to weather for the Twins, as Sunday’s game against the Tigers was also postponed and will be made up at a later date. Rain and snow was in the forecast on Tuesday, leading to the decision to postpone the game more than six hours before scheduled first pitch.
Tuesday’s scheduled game will be made up at 6:10 p.m. CT on Thursday, while Thursday’s day game will be held as originally scheduled at 12:10 p.m. Gates open for Game 1 at 11 a.m. and open for Game 2 at 5 p.m.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson, who was scheduled to start on Sunday before he was pushed back to Tuesday because of Sunday’s rainout, will start on Wednesday.
“You just have to roll with it,” Gibson said. “Mother nature is something you just have to deal with. It’s my third time treating it like it’s my start. But I threw a bullpen Sunday and I feel good about that. So I was able to work on stuff I think is going to help me. I’m just preparing as much as I can.”
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire added that right-hander Mike Pelfrey will start Game 1 of the doubleheader but the starter for Game 2 won’t be announced until Wednesday. If the Twins don’t recall a player from Triple-A Rochester for Thursday’s start, the Twins would have to either call up a starter for Sunday against the Orioles or use Gibson on short rest. Left-handers Kris Johnson and Logan Darnell are candidates to be recalled if the Twins decide to go that route.
“Gibson is going to start tomorrow, and Mike Pelfrey will start the first game of the doubleheader and then we’ll go from there and figure out who’s starting from there,” Gardenhire said.
The Twins still held workouts at Target Field despite the rainout with position players hitting in the cages and pitchers throwing light bullpen sessions. Gardenhire said the decision was made to hold a workout because the Twins haven’t played since Saturday.
“Guys who went out there throwing today said it felt like they hadn’t in a year. It’s only been a few days but we had an off-day also. So it’s been a couple days without baseball so it’s been a little different. Mother nature is winning right now.”
Fans holding tickets to the postponed game have two options: They can use their tickets for the rescheduled game on Thursday or exchange them for a future Twins regular-season game in 2014. Unused tickets may be exchanged only at the Target Field ticket office located on Target Plaza off 7th Street.
Tuesday marked the third time a game has been postponed due to weather at Target Field this season. It’s also the 11th postponed game since the stadium opened in 2010.
CHICAGO — The Twins shuffled their lineup against the White Sox on Wednesday, as Joe Mauer moved up into the two-hole while Kurt Suzuki slid down to bat seventh with right-hander Felipe Paulino on the mound.
Suzuki hit second in the first game of the season on Wednesday, and went 2-for-4 with three RBIs but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said the lineup is still a work in progress.
“We’re going to move him up and down the lineup, and we’re going to move our lineup around an awful lot,” Gardenhire said. “We’re going to change it up.”
Jason Kubel also made his first start of the year, batting cleanup and starting in left field with Josh Willingham hitting third and serving as designated hitter.
Twins catcher Josmil Pinto is expected to make his first start on Thursday over Suzuki with left-hander Jose Quintana starting for Chicago in the series finale.
“Suzuki is our starter so he’s going to catch a lot of games,” Gardenhire said. “Pinto is going to play a lot, too. So we’ll get Pinto into a lot of ballgames.”
1. Brian Dozier, 2B
2. Joe Mauer, 1B
3. Josh Willingham, DH
4. Jason Kubel, LF
5. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
6. Oswaldo Arcia, RF
7. Kurt Suzuki, C
8. Aaron Hicks, CF
9. Pedro Florimon, SS
RHP Kevin Correia
White Sox lineup:
1. Adam Eaton, CF
2. Marcus Semien, 3B
3. Jose Abreu, 1B
4. Adam Dunn, DH
5. Avisail Garcia, RF
6. Alejandro De Aza, LF
7. Alexei Ramirez, SS
8. Tyler Flowers, C
9. Leury Garcia, 2B
RHP Felipe Paulino
CHICAGO — It’s Opening Day here at U.S. Cellular Field, and it looks like it should be a beautiful day for baseball.
The Twins already made a roster move this morning, as they officially added left-hander Brian Duensing to the paternity list and recalled right-hander Michael Tonkin from Triple-A Rochester. But the move was expected, as Tonkin was at Sunday’s informal workout.
The first lineup of the season is also out, and Jason Kubel is sitting with left-hander Chris Sale on the mound for the White Sox. Chris Colabello gets the start at designated hitter over Kubel, even though he hit better against right-handed pitchers than left-handers last season in both the Minors and Majors.
Kurt Suzuki is also batting second, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise, considering he hit there late in spring. But it’s still a curious decision, as Suzuki has a career .309 on-base percentage and just a .282 on-base percentage over the last two seasons.
But the Twins just don’t have many options for the two-hole unless they decide to move Joe Mauer up in the lineup like they did last year. Aaron Hicks also could move up but the Twins want to ease him into the lineup after he went just 2-for-48 to start last year as the club’s leadoff hitter. So we’ll see how long the Suzuki batting second experiment lasts.
1. Brian Dozier, 2B
2. Kurt Suzuki, C
3. Joe Mauer, 1B
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Chris Colabello, DH
6. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
7. Oswaldo Arcia, RF
8. Aaron Hicks, CF
9. Pedro Florimon, SS
RHP Ricky Nolasco
White Sox lineup:
1. Adam Eaton, CF
2. Marcus Semien, DH
3. Conor Gillaspie, 3B
4. Jose Abreu, 1B
5. Adam Dunn, DH
6. Avisail Garcia, RF
7. Alejandro De Aza, LF
8. Alexei Ramirez, SS
9. Tyler Flowers, C
LHP Chris Sale
CHICAGO — Left-hander Brian Duensing will be placed on the paternity list on Monday, and right-hander Michael Tonkin will be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take his spot on the roster.
Duensing, who flew back home to Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday night, is expecting his second child with his wife, Lisa. Duensing is expected to be on paternity leave for three days so he could return in time for the third game of the season against the White Sox on Thursday.
“I think the doctors decided a few days ago that everything was good but they didn’t want to wait any longer and induce today,” Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. “He came in and felt bad but we told him not to worry about it.”
With Duensing on paternity leave, it gives Tonkin his first chance to be on an Opening Day roster after originally being optioned to Triple-A Rochester on Monday.
Tonkin, 24, had an impressive showing in Spring Training, as he didn’t allow a run in seven appearances. The 6-foot-7 right-hander gave up just three hits over 8 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking two.
“Tonkin could’ve been on my baseball team and on this staff just like a lot of other guys we sent out this spring,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “I’ve got no worries. We just want Deuce to go home and take care of his wife and the baby. It’s a beautiful thing for that. I know he wants to be here but there are more important things than that. It’s an exciting moment so we want him to be his wife. And we’ll have Tonkin here so we’re happy about that. I’m not afraid to put him anywhere.”