FORT MYERS, Fla. — Ricky Nolasco has retained his spot in the Twins’ rotation, beating out Tyler Duffey for the job.
Duffey was optioned to Class AAA Rochester on Tuesday, one of four final cuts as the Twins reached the Opening Day roster limit of 25. Also optioned to Rochester was left-handed reliever Ryan O’Rourke, while left-hander Logan Darnell and right-hander Brandon Kintzler were reassigned to the minor-league camp.
Duffey arrived in camp the front-runner for one of the open spots in the rotation, but a 7.30 ERA in four major-league starts, largely compiled as he tried to work a changeup into his repertoire, convinced the Twins he needed more time to prepare for the season.
“I came in thinking, or at least hearing, that I was No. 4 [in the rotation], so I worked on stuff and didn’t get ready to go,” said Duffey, who “fully expected” the news that manager Paul Molitor delivered Tuesday morning. “That showed in the last two outings, when I needed to execute, and I didn’t have that. … I’ve been through it now. Now I know the ropes for next time around.”
With Duffey gone, Nolasco moves into the rotation again. The 33-year-old righthander, owed $25 million for the next two seasons, put up a 4.05 ERA this spring. He is expected to start Saturday’s exhibition finale in Washington, then face the Royals in Kansas City exactly one week later.
The cuts also mean that lefthander Fernando Abad and right-handers Michael Tonkin and Ryan Pressly have made the Twins’ final roster. The Twins’ seven-man bullpen also includes lefthander Glen Perkins and righthanders Kevin Jepsen, Trevor May and Casey Fien.
With the roster settled, the Twins will conclude their Grapefruit League season with three home games, beginning today against the Red Sox. The Twins, who have already clinched the “Chairman’s Cup” championship of Fort Myers for the first time since 2011 by winning four of the first five games against Boston this year, will use their Opening Day lineup against Red Sox starter Joe Kelly. Here are today’s lineups: