Pregame: Deduno's experience earns promotion
- Blog Post by: Phil Miller
- May 21, 2013 - 5:32 PM
ATLANTA -- The decision about the Twins' starting-rotation vacancy hinged, at least in part, on the Detroit Tigers. That's who Minnesota's next starter will face on Friday, the major leagues' highest-scoring team on its home field, and that's why Samuel Deduno was the choice.
"I know for a fact [the Tigers] don't like facing him," manager Ron Gardenhire said of the team's consensus choice to promote the 29-year-old Dominican, rather than righthanders Kyle Gibson or P.J. Walters, or lefthander Andrew Albers. "They've got a great hitting lineup, but Deduno, he's pretty filthy. He can scare the living fire out of you because he's going to wing it."
Deduno held the Tigers to three runs over seven innings last Aug. 14, then was shelled for seven runs in 2 1/3 innings in Detroit last September. But "we were looking for a chance to compete and win a ballgame," Gardenhire said, "and we thought he gives us the best chance right now."
Deduno has struck out 17 batters over 16 2/3 innings for Rochester this year, posting a 2.70 ERA after recovering from a groin injury.
Gibson is close, but the Twins are still concerned about his good game/bad game pattern, Gardenhire said. "They're looking for him to hopefully put together a few [strong] starts before we bring him up, because once you bring that guy up, you want him to be here and stay here," he said. "And right now, he's not quite there. That's the belief."
Deduno's schedule start on Tuesday was cancelled, and he threw a long bullpen session instead. He will fly to Detroit on Thursday night and will be activated on Friday, setting up a weeklong competition in the Twins' bullpen to avoid being the pitcher sent to Class AAA to make room.
Caleb Thielbar, who made his major-league debut on Monday, is the most likely candidate to go, but assistant general manager Rob Antony made it clear that the Twins have not made a decision on who will go, so Thielbar's two shutout innings against the Braves give him a fighting chance to stay in the majors.
Another possibility, of course, is that the Twins keep all eight relievers and send down a position player, going with a 13-man bullpen.
Speaking of potential roster moves, Gardenhire and Antony said they are well aware of how Chris Colabello is hitting in Rochester, and "we're looking at all kinds of options [about] how to give this kid a chance," Gardenhire said. "All I can tell Chris is, keep swinging, and something will shake itself out."
Colabello has done plenty of swinging -- he's batting .360 for the season, and .541 with four homers and 15 RBIs over his last 10 games. This week the Red Wings' first baseman began playing right field for the Red Wings, because "he's not going to play first base here," Gardenhire said. "You better figure out someplace we can play him before we bring him up here."
Tonight's lineups include a new element, at least for this season: Backup catcher Ryan Doumit is playing right field, the first time he's done that since May 4, 2012. It limits Gardenhire's maneuverability, because the Twins carry only two catchers; the manager won't be able to replace Doumit with a better fielder, because he needs him in case something happens to Joe Mauer. But the tradeoff was worth it, Gardenhire said, to get Doumit's bat in the lineup against Braves righthander Tim Hudson.
The Twins have had very little luck batting against Hudson in the past. Josh Willingham is 1-for-20 with seven strikeouts, Jamey Carroll is 1-for-11, Joe Mauer is 1-for-7 and Trevor Plouffe is 0-for-4.
One other small tweak to Minnesota's lineup: a day after batting Pedro Florimon seventh and Aaron Hicks eighth, Gardenhire flipped them back to his more normal order. "It just didn't feel right" having them bat in the other order on Monday, the manager said.
Tonight's lineups as the Twins, who have fallen into last place in the A.L. Central, try to break their six-game losing streak:
J. Upton LF
B.J. Upton CF
Tim Hudson RHP
© 2013 Star Tribune