LOS ANGELES - Jaime Garcia will inherit Kyle Gibson’s spot in the starting rotation, the Twins decided after watching Bartolo Colon show some encouraging signs on Monday.
Gibson was optioned to Class AAA Rochester after Minnesota’s 6-4 loss to the Dodgers, the Twins choosing Colon over Gibson for the fifth spot. Colon allowed three runs over five innings on Monday, but didn’t walk a batter. Colon will start Sunday in Oakland, manager Paul Molitor said after the game, and Garcia will take Gibson’s spot.
“His last two starts were pretty good,” Molitor said of Gibson, who allowed four runs in Houston on July 16, then took a shutout into the eighth inning Saturday against the Tigers, “but we had to make a spot."
There was some discussion, Molitor said, about moving the 29-year-old righthander to the bullpen, but given the precarious condition of Minnesota’s rotation, they decided it was best to keep Gibson ready to start on short notice.
“I want to keep Kyle ready, as opposed to putting him in the bullpen,” Molitor said. “For him to have a chance to come back if something were to happen to our rotation, I’d rather him have taken his regular turn down there.”
It’s the second demotion to the minors for Gibson this season; he posted a 2.92 ERA for the Red Wings in May before being recalled. Regaining his rotation spot may not be easy, however, given that lefthander Hector Santiago is on a rehab assignment in Rochester and will plausibly compete for any spot that comes open again.
For Colon, word that he will receive a third start was good news that he said he wasn’t particularly worried about.
“No, when I go pitch, I don’t worry about nothing. That’s the manager’s decision. That’s not in my mind at all,” he said. “It feels good [to remain in the rotation], especially going to Oakland, where I pitched for three years (actually 2012-13). It almost feels like home.”