TORONTO – By the numbers, it was progress, and more importantly, by the feel on the mound, it was, too. Glen Perkins’ third outing Saturday since returning from shoulder surgery lasted only three batters, a sign that he’s learning what he can do with the tools at his disposal.
“I threw some good pitches that had good movement. I didn’t have velocity, which was fine, but I had movement,” Perkins said after giving up a ground-ball single and recording two outs against Toronto. “Where I’m at, that’s probably more important.”
Perkins had given up runs in each of his first two outings, but was called upon to face two lefthanders and a righty in the seventh inning, and try to keep the game close. “I executed my pitches this time,” he said. “My slider was all right. I buried a decent one to [Ryan] Goins, but one I threw to [Rob] Refsnyder was probably not great. But it’s a step in the right direction.”
Manager Paul Molitor said he has been trying to limit Perkins, the three-time All-Star closer who missed 16 months with a detached labrum, to low-stress situations, but “his next time out there could be more significant than his last couple.” Perkins is eager for more, and expects to eventually be slotted in to face lefthanders in dangerous situations.
That’s why Saturday was heartening, he said, even though he topped out at 90 miles per hour.
“I’m not going to blow guys away. But I think the experience I have is going to let me have some level of success, just knowing how to pitch,” he said. “Today was the first day where I felt like I pitched.”
Mound help coming
The Twins have begun discussing what players might receive a call when rosters can expand beginning Friday, and Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey is at Class AAA Rochester watching players.
Expect most of the help to be pitchers, Molitor said. “We don’t have a lot of position players on our 40-man roster,” he pointed out.
He’s right; only two players — Red Wings shortstop Engelb Vielma and outfielder Daniel Palka — could be called up without dropping someone else. “I don’t think more is always better,” Molitor said.
• Jason Castro’s headaches, a result of foul balls off his mask in Chicago, have declined and the catcher is feeling better, Molitor said. Castro is on the seven-day concussion injury list.
• Tim Melville, who gave up five runs in 3⅓ innings in a loss to the White Sox on Monday, was claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres. He becomes the eighth player in Twins history to leave the organization after appearing in only one game, and third this year, joining fellow pitchers Nick Tepesch and Jaime Garcia. The others: pitchers Fred Bruckbauer (1961), Mike Smith (2006), Matt Fox (2010) and Rob Delaney (2010) and first baseman Justin Huber (2009).