BOSTON – A fire alarm was blaring in the Twins’ claustrophobic clubhouse as Glen Perkins began explaining why he couldn’t pitch on Wednesday. The closer stopped and scowled. “I love this place,” he deadpanned with a look that said the opposite.
The Twins put up with tiny quarters, an over-air conditioned clubhouse and quiet bats this week, but the biggest blow came in the 28th and final inning of the series. Minnesota took its only lead of its stay in Fenway Park but couldn’t call upon its best ninth-inning pitcher, a 17-for-19 closer. That’s because Perkins’ back gradually became sore Tuesday, and when he tried to throw in the bullpen before Wednesday’s game, he couldn’t throw major league-caliber pitches.
“I don’t think anyone in this clubhouse feels worse than I do,” Perkins said after he watched his understudy, righthander Casey Fien, serve up back-to-back home runs to lose the lead and the game in a 2-1, 10-inning defeat. “Part of it is, that’s my job. Those are my three outs. It didn’t work out today, and that’s frustrating. That’s a tough pill to swallow, not to be out there for my team.”
Perkins said he took some medication Tuesday night “to help it calm down,” but it wasn’t much better when he woke up.
“When I came in, I tried to play catch, but I was too stiff. Too stiff to play,” said Perkins, who never before had been stricken with back pain serious enough to sideline him. “We’ll see how it feels when I get home. Right now, I think I’d be able to play tomorrow, but we’ll see.”
• Eduardo Nunez ran first-to-third four times before Wednesday’s game and said his sore hamstring is healthy enough for him to play. He’s expected to be available Thursday against the White Sox.
• Yohan Pino will meet the Twins at Target Field on Thursday, then make his major league debut. At 30, he’s the oldest starting pitcher in Twins history to make his big-league debut, breaking 27-year-old Andrew Albers’ record from last year. The oldest rookie starter in franchise history? That was Washington Senators righthander John Martina, who beat the Yankees as a 34-year-old rookie in 1924.