Pedro Hernandez almost made the Twins' roster as a reliever in the spring. He may wind up in that bullpen after all, at least for a few days. And that could present an interesting problem -- or opportunity -- for the Twins' rotation on Monday.
Ron Gardenhire, his bullpen down to four available arms on Friday, said Hernandez may have to pitch on Saturday, two days before his scheduled start against his former team, the White Sox. Brian Duensing worked three games in Boston, Ryan Pressly threw 66 pitches on Wednesday (in relief of Hernandez) and Glen Perkins was unavailable with some stiffness in his left side.
The four remaining relievers all pitched Friday, so it won't be a full bullpen again on Saturday. Hernandez, who only went two innings in Boston on Wednesday, may have to be pressed into service if Vance Worley doesn't go deep into the game.
So who would take his next start? Well, it's entirely speculation at this point. But it's worth pointing out, at least, that Kyle Gibson pitched a four-hit shutout against Toledo on Wednesday -- and so the former first-round pick would be in line to pitch again on Monday. Hmm.
It's also possible, of course, that the Twins, in order to avoid making a roster move, might simply ask Ryan Pressly or even Anthony Swarzak, both of whom have been starting pitchers in the past and who are stretched out now, to take the spot start.
A few other leftovers from Friday's loss:
-- The Twins came into Friday's game with a 2.63 bullpen ERA, which is second-best (behind Cleveland) in the major leagues. The seven relievers have been almost uniformly effective, so much so that the Twins aren't sure what to do with relievers like Tim Wood (before he got hurt) or Pedro Hernandez (before he became the fifth starter).
So it's a little weird that they are only 1-3 in extra innings this season, after losing 9-6 to Baltimore on Friday. And all three extra-inning losses have come in the past week -- 7-6 at Cleveland last Friday, 6-5 in Boston on Monday and tonight's big blown lead.
-- They've been victimized by Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera, too, but Chris Davis sure can look like the scariest batter the Twins face. His smooth, easy swing produced three doubles tonight, and he's now 6-for-17 against the Twins this year, with four extra-base hits -- remember his grand slam in Baltimore? -- and eight RBIs. In four games.
-- When Aaron Hicks singled in his first at-bat tonight, I was certain this would be the first multi-hit game of his career. But Hicks flew out, grounded out and struck out the rest of the way, then was pinch-hit for by Chris Parmelee in the 10th. That extends to 30 his streak of games with zero or one hit, but it's a long way from record territory. In fact, it's not even halfway to the record for players named Hicks. Joe Hicks, an outfielder with the White Sox, Senators and Mets in the early 1960s, played 69 straight games before his first two-hit game.