Pregame: Tonkin to replace Thielbar while he attends funeral
- Blog Post by: Phil Miller
- July 9, 2013 - 11:10 PM
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Caleb Thielbar has been pitching with the burden of a loss far greater than any ballgame.
Thielbar's grandmother died last Thursday, but the Twins' lefthander channeled his grief into his work. "This is a good escape for me, being able to pitch," he said, and he'll be available tonight and tomorrow.
Thielbar will return to Minnesota on Thursday in order to join his family for a celebration-of-life service Friday in his hometown of Randolph, Minn. He'll rejoin the Twins in New York that night, but will remain on baseball's three-day bereavement list through Saturday's game.
Michael Tonkin, a 23-year-old righthanded reliever at Class AAA Rochester, will join the Twins Wednesday and be available in the bullpen over the weekend. Tonkin, a former 30th-round pick, began the season at Class AA New Britain and was promoted after striking out 30 batters in just 24 innings. Tonkin has posted a 1.32 ERA at Rochester and saved five games for the Red Wings.
"He's pitching the best, he's on the [40-man] roster -- it's the easiest thing to bring him in and have him available for three days. And Sunday, we'll have to make a corresponding move to activate Thielbar," assistant general manager Rob Antony said of the 6-foot-7, 220-pound righthander, whose fastball can reach 95-97 mph. "It could be Tonkin, or we could make some other move."
As for tonight's game, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire made no moves, choosing to stick with Monday's lefty-loaded lineup against Rays righthander Chris Archer. Seven of the nine Twins are either left-handed or switch-hitters.
Kyle Gibson makes his third start for the Twins, and will try to rebound from last Thursday's eight-run outing against the Yankees.
© 2013 Star Tribune