Kyle Gibson wanted to take the ball Thursday, and he did. But he never left the Target Field bullpen.
Gibson was ready to make his first appearance since April 22 in the first game of a four-game series against Tampa Bay, but soreness on the right side of his lower back prompted the Twins to delay his return.
So Gibson threw 40 pitches in the bullpen instead. If he doesn’t have any further complications, he likely will head to Class AAA Rochester to make one rehabilitation start before returning to the club.
Gibson landed on the disabled list in April because of a sore right shoulder. The Twins’ main concern was what would happen if Gibson’s back gives him trouble and he compensates by putting more pressure on his nearly healed shoulder.
“We had it checked out,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Nothing major. It is one of those things where he feels it when he is sitting or driving for a long period of time, things like that.”
Then Molitor joked, “The next time he pitches, he might have to stand between innings.”
In the end, Gibson understood. He even pointed out that starting and then exiting a game early puts the bullpen in a tough spot. The safe call is to make sure he’s healthy.
“The training staff and Mollie and [GM Terry Ryan] talked some sense into me because I wanted to pitch,” Gibson said. “It’s something I don’t want to mess with.”
Gibson began experiencing stiffness Monday after working out. The stiffness returned Tuesday as he traveled to the Twin Cities. By Wednesday the discomfort had worsened, with pain shooting down his legs.
Gibson’s treatment, which included working with a massage therapist, has helped him feel better.
“We don’t think this is anything major,” Ryan said.
The Twins want to make sure Gibson, who is 0-3 with a 6.10 ERA, has enough endurance to throw 90 pitches in a game before he’s activated.
Longtime Twins scout Larry Corrigan, who suffered a stroke May 6 while working at a Texas League game, was released from a Little Rock, Ark., hospital and returned to his home in Illinois. Corrigan still faces a lengthy rehabilitation to treat some paralysis on his right side.
“[Thursday] I talked to him and that’s the best I’ve heard him,” Ryan said.
Closer Glen Perkins, out since the first week of the season because of shoulder soreness, is scheduled to throw in the bullpen Saturday. Ryan, however, wasn’t ready to set a timetable for Perkins’ return,
“I’m going bullpen by bullpen,” Ryan said. “He’s been out quite a while.”
Perkins likely will throw a few more bullpen sessions before the Twins send him on a minor league rehabilitation assignment. Then Perkins will need a few weeks — basically another spring training — to pitch in games and get sharp. Even though Perkins can come off the DL next week, he’s going to be out much longer.
• With Byron Buxton and Max Kepler in the majors, there’s a shortage of outfielders at Class AAA Rochester. So the Twins signed former major leaguer Logan Schafer to a minor league deal and assigned him to the Red Wings. Schafer was in spring training with the Nationals but was reassigned March 14 and granted a release two days later. Schafer, 29, was playing for the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League when the Twins signed him.