HOUSTON – Twins manager Paul Molitor said he hopes to know where Bartolo Colon’s next outing will take place in the next couple of days.
The very veteran righthander gave up four runs over 3⅔ innings on Thursday for Class AAA Rochester in an outing that lacked sharpness.
“I hope to have that decision in the next 24 to 48 hours,” Molitor said, “so we don’t have that decision looming into Sunday.”
Colon, making his first appearance since June 28 for Atlanta, faced the Lehigh Valley IronPigs as General Manager Thad Levine looked on from the stands. Molitor on Friday spoke with Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey and Red Wings manager Mike Quade as they determined if they can start the four-time All-Star and 2005 Cy Young winner against the Yankees on Tuesday.
While one batted ball was misplayed into a double, there were some hard-hit outs. And the club has to take that into consideration as it determines Colon’s readiness.
“There was a little bit of rust,” Molitor said of the reports he received. “Command is fairly good, maybe not as good as it needs to be for him to be effective at his highest level. But he threw his changeup and breaking ball.”
The Twins signed Colon on July 7 after he was designated for assignment by the Braves. If the Twins decide to have him make another tuneup start, they will have an interesting decision to make for Tuesday’s game against the Yankees.
They could recall Felix Jorge from Class AA Chattanooga, but he lasted only 2⅔ innings on July 7 against the Orioles. Molitor mentioned righthander Dillon Gee, who was signed and called up on June 23 but never pitched. Gee is scheduled to start on Saturday for Rochester.
Or, they could have something else up their sleeves.
Mauer close to return
First baseman Joe Mauer worked out Friday afternoon, then took batting practice with the team. He appeared to have no problems with his lower back, but Molitor had decided to wait until Sunday before activating Mauer from the 10-day disabled list.
Then the game started. Byron Buxton left in the sixth because of a sore left groin. And Kennys Vargas left after the seventh with left foot contusion.
Molitor now might place Vargas on the DL and activate Mauer for Saturday’s game.
“We’re going to wait to get some feedback on his condition and make a decision,” Molitor said after the Twins lost to the Astros 10-5.
Vargas had X-rays taken after the game as a precaution but said he can play with the injury. He fouled a ball off the same foot a couple of weeks ago while at Class AAA Rochester and, out of nowhere, he began to have trouble running on Friday.
Buxton is listed as day-to-day. Zack Granite will likely fill in for him in center.
Mauer hasn’t played since July 5 because of lower back soreness, and Saturday is the first day he can be activated.
“Reports coming into town were that he had a good break in terms of returning to good health,” Molitor said. “So far, I have seen nothing that has dispelled that.”
Spending time at home
Jason Castro, Tyler Duffey and Robbie Grossman all live within 10 minutes of Minute Maid Park. So they were able to spend the All-Star break at home and can drive in for the games. It’s not too often so many players can spend a break at home, then play for the visiting team.
Castro played six seasons with Houston before signing with the Twins before this past offseason.
Grossman broke in with the Astros and played with them for parts of three seasons before being released following the 2015 season. He hooked on with Cleveland but received his release on May 16 of last season before joining the Twins.