TORONTO — Mitch Garner caught four of Dillon Gee’s five starts for Class AAA Rochester in June and July, and they were quite a successful team. Gee didn’t allow a run in three of them, and put together a 2.14 ERA when throwing to Garver.
Paul Molitor has been looking for an opportunity to put Garver behind the plate, and today seemed like a natural, especially since it’s a day game after a night game, and starting catcher Jason Castro is on the concussion list. Garver “has experience with a lot of guys on our staff, but this seems to be a good fit,” Molitor said of his decision to give Garver his first career start as a catcher.
Gee will try to build upon his impressive start last Monday in Chicago, when he allowed two hits over six innings. It’s been a steady rise for the 31-year-old Texan, who like Bartolo Colon is a former Met whose career was in danger just a couple of months ago. Somehow, both have found their way into the Twins’ revolving-door rotation, and are pitching in a pennant race.
“What I like right now is his confidence to attack the strike zone,” Molitor said of Gee, who earned the start by pitching well in three of four long-relief appearances after being called up at the beginning of August. “He can cut the ball, he can sink the ball, his curveball plays, his changeup is good. … His Chicago outing was high-end.”
The Twins, clinging to a wild-card spot despite being just 3-3 on this road trip, could use more of that. And perhaps Garner can help make that happen.
Castro, by the way, feels better after a couple of days off, Molitor said. The catcher’s recurring headache after being hit by foul balls in Chicago have gone away, and he was riding a stationary bike in the clubhouse this morning. Castro is eligible to return on Thursday, if he passes a concussion test.
Here are the lineups for this afternoon’s game in sunny Rogers Centre: