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Johnson

Feed Loader,

Rainout means lefthander Johnson will get chance with Twins

  • Article by: La Velle E. Neal III
  • Star Tribune
  • April 30, 2014 - 12:54 AM

The Twins-Dodgers game scheduled for Tuesday night at Target Field was postponed because of borderline wintry conditions in the area. The game will be played Thursday night as part of a day-night doubleheader.

Because of that doubleheader, the Twins decided to call up lefthander Kris Johnson from Class AAA Rochester. Teams are allowed to add a 26th player to the roster for doubleheaders.

Johnson was traded to the Twins from Pittsburgh during the offseason for righthander Duke Welker, who originally was one of two players the Twins received for Justin Morneau at the August trade deadline.

Johnson, 29, is 2-2 with a 2.86 ERA at Rochester. He gave up one unearned run over six innings in his last start Thursday. The key is that he is on the Twins’ 40-man roster and will be on full rest for his start. He has a fastball in the low 90s, a curve and a changeup.

The Twins need an extra starter because Kyle Gibson, who is scheduled to start Wednesday, would have to come back on three days’ rest and pitch Sunday without an additional starting pitcher for the doubleheader. Mike Pelfrey will start the first game Thursday and be followed by Johnson, who debuted with the Pirates last season and went 0-2 with a 6.10 ERA in four games, including one start.

Before joining the Pirates organization, Johnson had been released by the Red Sox and had signed with the Kansas City T-Bones of the independent American Association.

Righthander Ricky Nolasco, who originally had been scheduled to start one of the games Thursday, will be pushed back to Friday, setting the rest of the rotation on a five-day schedule again.

The Twins aren’t ready to give Samuel Deduno a chance to start, perhaps because he’s not stretched out.

As for the Dodgers, they will start righthander Zack Greinke on Wednesday but might have to call up a pitcher to start one of the games Thursday.

Why not Meyer?

Righthander Alex Meyer is the most intriguing pitcher at Rochester, but he won’t get the call for the doubleheader because he pitched Monday. The Twins’ top pitching prospect shut out Charlotte for six innings on two hits while striking out 11.

Meyer has thrown 12⅔ scoreless innings over his past two starts with 22 strikeouts. However, he is not on the 40-man roster and Thursday is not his day to pitch.

Off day work

Although Tuesday's game was called off, Twins players worked out at Target Field. Some hit in the cages. Some pitchers played catch.

Gibson threw a little Sunday, when he was originally scheduled to start against Detroit, and said he is ready.

“That’s something that I think is going to help me,” he said. “That is when I really got the curveball working again. Hopefully, I can throw more than one or two in the game and I don’t spike the rest of them.”

Etc.

• Injured left fielder Josh Willingham (left wrist) took some swings Tuesday and is getting closer to heading out on a minor league rehab assignment. He will check and see how his wrist feels Wednesday.

• Fans with tickets for Tuesday’s game can use them for Thursday night’s game, or exchange them for a game later this season, subject to availability and restrictions.

© 2014 Star Tribune