CLEVELAND – The Twins will select the contract of righthander Matt Guerrier, as the club was staring at a Thursday deadline to put him on the major league roster or give him the option to leave as a free agent.
Guerrier, 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA in four games at Class AAA Rochester, was in town Wednesday night and was expected to be in uniform Thursday when the Twins take on Cleveland in the final game of a four-game series. To make room for Guerrier, the Twins optioned lefthander Logan Darnell to Rochester.
“We’re going to take Matty Guerrier up here and see what happens,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “The guy has worked very hard. He’s got good stuff. We’ll see how he fits in our bullpen and go from there.”
Guerrier, 35, spent seven seasons with the Twins before signing with the Dodgers as a free agent before the 2011 season. He spent parts of last season with the Dodgers and Cubs, but his season was cut short by a flexor mass problem that required surgery in August.
He remained in Fort Myers, Fla., to strengthen his arm and prepare for the season when the team broke camp at the end of March. He threw four shutout innings for Class AA New Britain before moving to Rochester. His first three outings for the Red Wings were fine, but he’s given up home runs in each of his past two outings, including a two-run homer Tuesday.
Reached on Wednesday afternoon, Guerrier said he’s pleased with where he’s at with his pitches.
“I feel great,” he said. “Things are moving well, and my stuff has progressed pretty well, too. I feel like I’m a lot better than I was in spring training.”
The Twins will have to make room on their 40-man roster for Guerrier, which they will announce Thursday.
Darnell made his major league debut Tuesday, throwing three shutout innings.
“Tough to do,” Gardenhire said of sending Darnell down. “We liked what we saw. A good performance by him. He understands. It’s just something we’ve gotta do.”
The Twins were set to make two roster moves Wednesday, the other being a call-up of outfielder Oswaldo Arcia from Rochester, where he’s batting .333 in eight games while on a rehabilitation assignment. But he reported stiffness when he reported to the Red Wings on Wednesday, so the Twins will have to come up with another plan to add an outfielder — or wait for Arcia to heal.
Aaron Hicks can come off the seven-day concussion DL on Friday and could be an option. He faced live pitching Wednesday with no problems.
First baseman Joe Mauer played catch before Wednesday as he tests out his sore back. If he feels better Thursday, he could ramp up his activities with an eye toward returning during the Detroit series. He said after Tuesday’s game that he was getting better, but he’s still not moving the way he usually moves.
“We’re getting closer here,” Gardenhire said. “We’ve got to get him cleared up to where he’s free to move. And he’s not there yet.”
Twins righthander Ricky Nolasco held Cleveland to three runs over six innings on six hits and one walk with nine strikeouts.
He said he’s been smoothing out his mechanics lately and is beginning to see the results.
“That’s how it goes sometimes,” he said. “You can work on it all you want. You are going to end up fighting yourself sometime during the season and hopefully this was that time.”
It was the second consecutive good outing for Nolasco, who gave up three runs over nine innings last Friday to Baltimore. His curveball was impressive Wednesday, but he said that wasn’t his only weapon.
“The curveball was good,” he said. “I didn’t start throwing it until later in the game. The slider was the key pitch for me.”
Nolasco’s nine strikeouts were the most for him since May 8, 2013, against San Diego.
• Outfielder Josh Willingham (left wrist) took 20 flip throws and 20 swings off a tee.
• Righthander Mike Pelfrey (groin) will throw another bullpen session Thursday.