The Twins will juggle their rotation following Saturday’s decision to demote righthander Liam Hendriks to Class AAA Rochester and give lefthander Pedro Hernandez another start.
Hernandez was expected to be sent to Class AAA Rochester to make room for lefthander Scott Diamond, who came off of the disabled list on Saturday. But the Twins decided to keep Hernandez, who has given up four runs in 9⅓ innings since being called up April 7.
He relieved Friday in the second inning when starter Vance Worley was knocked out of the game. Working with the bases loaded, Hernandez gave up a grand slam to Mets catcher John Buck, the first batter he faced, but went on throw 4⅓ innings.
“He actually competed very well,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He used his pitches very well.”
Hernandez left that game because of a strained left calf but said Saturday that he felt much better.
The Twins will look for a place to insert Hernandez into the rotation. Worley, who threw only 57 pitches Friday, might be moved to start on Tuesday against the Angels. Hernandez could start Wednesday against the Angels or work out of the bullpen.
“We’re looking at a lot of different things here,” Gardenhire said. “A lot of different angles.”
Hendriks needs work
By holding the Royals to one run over five innings in miserably wet and cold conditions on Wednesday, Hendriks believed he had done enough to keep his roster spot. But when it came time to activate Diamond on Saturday, the decision came down to more than that one outing. As a result, Hendriks’ next start will be in Rochester.
“Liam could use a little more time,” General Manager Terry Ryan said of his decision to keep Hernandez with the Twins instead of Hendriks. It’s possible the Twins won’t need a fifth starter for a week or more — Sunday’s game is in doubt because of rain, an off day is scheduled for Thursday — and Ryan wants Hendriks to keep getting regular work.
Gardenhire believes Hendriks, 0-1 with a 4.66 ERA with the Twins, has to make better use of this pitches, learn to put away hitters with two strikes and just be more consistent.
“He’s dominated there [Class AAA] before, but it is all about getting deep into games and using all of your pitches,” Gardenhire said.
Ramirez leaves team
Outfielder Wilkin Ramirez is on three-day paternity leave, meaning the Twins can call up a replacement for the next few days. That announcement will come on Sunday. They could call up a hot bat, such as Chris Colabello or Oswaldo Arcia. Or they could call up Clete Thomas to help out at center and give the struggling Aaron Hicks a breather.
Forecasts say there is a 90 percent chance of rain on Sunday, and Ryan already has a makeup date in mind in case the series finale has to be postponed. But the Twins will do everything they can to play, even if a cold rain is falling.
Playing in inclement conditions is going to become increasingly common, Ryan said, because of the new schedule baseball has adopted. With the exception of division opponents, visiting teams make only one trip to Minneapolis.