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.”
FORT MYERS, Fla. — The competition for the fifth spot in the rotation became a bit clearer for the Twins on Friday, as the fifth spot is now expected to be occupied by either right-hander Kyle Gibson or left-hander Scott Diamond.
Right-hander Samuel Deduno, who was considered the favorite for the fifth spot in his rotation based on his 3.83 ERA in 18 starts last season and his 2.19 ERA in five Grapefruit League appearances, is expected to start the year as a long reliever.
Gibson is now the frontrunner, and gets the start against the Orioles on Tuesday, while Diamond is scheduled to piggyback Gibson in that game. There were early reports saying Gibson had already won the job but it was shot down by both Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony.
Deduno also remains in that mix in case Gibson or Diamond falter but given Deduno’s propensity for high pitch counts that don’t allow him to go deep into games, the Twins like him better in long relief. Diamond, who like Deduno is out of Minor League options, also could head to the bullpen or be placed on waivers if he loses out to Gibson.
“There’s a better chance that Deduno will end up in the bullpen,” Antony said. “I think he’s still in the mix for the rotation. We’re going to continue to pitch him stretched out but we only have a week left to straighten this out so it’s going to be more Gibson and Diamond. Deduno is still in the mix but we feel like he could handle the bullpen better.”
Right-hander Vance Worley was originally in that mix but was outrighted to Triple-A Rochester on Friday after clearing waivers.
FORT MYERS, Fla. — Twins general manager Terry Ryan made a surprise visit to Hammond Stadium on Friday, and is scheduled to watch the Twins play the Yankees on Saturday afternoon before heading back to Minnesota.
Ryan, who underwent surgery to remove a cancerous lump from his neck on Feb. 11, caught the last few innings of Minnesota’s 9-1 loss to the Mets, and more importantly had a chance to meet with Twins coaches and staff members to show that he’s feeling much better.
Ryan still has five more weeks of radiation left, and underwent radiation before his flight Friday, but looked healthy and showed no ill-effects from the radiation treatments, which began on March 13. He did lose about 14 pounds after the surgery but said he’s gained roughly half of it back.
“I decided it was probably a good thing and important to come down here and show everybody that I’m still engaged,” Ryan said. “I’m not sure what the right decision is. But I have to go back because I have radiation five days a week from Monday to Friday. So I can’t stay long. As much as I’d like to be here at least a week, I can’t, and I have to leave tomorrow.”
Ryan, 60, was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in early February after a lump was found in a lymph node in his neck. He underwent surgery at the Mayo Clinic on Feb. 11 and was released from the hospital three days later.
He said he’s still been able to watch Twins games on television with all 16 of their home games televised locally by Fox Sports North, and remains in constant contact with his assistants Rob Antony, Wayne Krivsky, Mike Radcliff, Bill Smith and Jack Goin.
“If I have treatment in the morning, I go right from there to my Target [Field] office,” Ryan said. “It works out fine. I stay till mid-afternoon and go home and turn [baseball] on. So it’s a decent day. I get plenty of information. When I get home, I have the opportunity to watch a lot of games. MLB televises like three games a day so it’s very convenient to keep an eye on the industry.”
Ryan said he’ll miss Opening Day against the White Sox on March 31 in Chicago, as he won’t be able to travel much until he’s done with radiation treatments in late April. But he said he plans on being there for every game at Target Field, including the home opener against the A’s on April 7. Antony is expected to travel in Ryan’s place early in the season when the Twins are on the road.
“All the home games I’ll be in attendance,” Ryan said. “If things go right, I should be OK, and move on.”
Ryan added that he plans to meet with Twins players in the clubhouse before Saturday’s game but said he’s more likely to talk to the players one-on-one rather than giving a speech to the team. He also said he plans on heading over to the Minor League side as well.
Antony, who has been serving as acting GM in Ryan’s absence this spring, was among those who had a chance to see Ryan on Friday, and was happy to see Ryan doing so well.
“I think it’s a relief and good for everybody to see him,” Antony said. “Just to catch up with him and talk to him. We went over a few things about the team but we also talked about how he’s doing.”
Ryan also wanted to give out the message that he appreciates all the support he’s received from those around the game, including Twins employees and fans.
“I’m thankful for all the attention, help and care and interest,” Ryan said. “There have been hundreds and hundreds of well-wishes. It’s unbelievable the support I’ve got. My wife [Karilyn] has had to a lot of stuff for me because I was on a feeding tube for a while. But I’m feeling good right now. I’m optimistic things are moving in the right direction. There’s no doubt about that.”