KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A couple of extras from the ugly finale of the Twins’ six-game road trip:
Aaron Slegers was called up to the Twins for his major-league debut last August 17, pitched into the seventh inning of a game the Twins won, then was told he was being sent back to Triple-A. Last month, Slegers was summoned to Yankee Stadium and activated, just in case he was needed by a beleaguered bullpen. He didn’t pitch, and was sent back to Rochester after the game.
So when Slegers got the call to come to Kansas City on Tuesday night, he knew what might happen. Sure enough, after the game, after serving as something of a rescuer for the pitching staff, he was given a plane ticket back to Rochester. That’s three one-day stints on the Twins roster.
He’s OK with it.
“You’ve just got to control what you can control. I’m happy for the opportunity, that I got to come here and pitch,” Slegers said. “Any time I’m on a major league field, I’m blessed for the opportunity.”
The Twins were blessed to have him, it turns out. When Fernando Romero crashed after facing just 15 batters, Slegers was ready. He pitched through the seventh inning, taking a 5 1/3 inning-load off the Twins’ bullpen.
“I was glad I could protect the bullpen a little bit. It wasn’t a secret what my job was there — go as deep as I could and protect the bullpen as much as I could. And I’m glad I did that,” Slegers said. “It’s a shame we didn’t pull it out.”
He’s been a starting pitcher his entire career, so a bullpen role is strange to him. But he adapted quickly.
“I’m not too experienced at that. I just tried to do some stretches and stuff, and then when the phone rings, the adrenalin … you get loose quick enough,” Slegers said. “I did it against Toronto last September [when he gave up two runs and got two outs], and that one went a little worse than tonight did. So it was nice to have done it before. I had to remind myself to slow it down.”
The Twins scored eight runs, which ties their biggest output of May. They didn’t get a win, but manager Paul Molitor said he was pleased that the bats, which have been so silent on this road trip, seemed to come alive.
“I’m happy to see some offense, and some guys get hits — some guys that have had tough trips,” Molitor said. Miguel Sano “got a hitter’s count when we had something going, he hit the ball fairly sharp, and it was a double play.”
Still, he said, “We needed to score a lot to make a game of it, and we did. We did some good things. We just didn’t have enough.”
The Twins hit some balls 400 feet during this series, only to have them caught on the warning track. On Wednesday, Mike Moustakas hit a high popup down the right field line, and it somehow carried into the front row of seats, a mere 330 feet from the plate. It’s one of the shortest possible home runs in the major leagues, and it annoyed Molitor.
“He didn’t really hit it that good. Not that you’d cry soul grapes over it, but that ball just seemed to carry in that corner, and crept out,” the manager said. “That was deflating.”