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Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968.

Reusse: Twins' Boshers promoted, pitches and demoted within 24 hours

The morning started at Target Field on Sunday with curiosity as to what rationale allowed Buddy Boshers to be the pitcher added to the Twins bullpen. Another lengthy afternoon ended with Kris Atteberry choosing Boshers as the Twins’ player of the game during his postgame radio show.

About the same time Atteberry was doing this, pitching coach Neil Allen was retrieving Boshers from the lounging area of the clubhouse for a conversation with manager Paul Molitor.

Boshers had relieved Kyle Gibson with seven Detroit runs on the scoreboard and two outs in the third. After a walk, Boshers retired the next seven Tigers – including a pair of 1-2-3 innings that required a total of 21 pitches.

For this, Boshers was invited to the meeting with Molitor, and told the Twins’ bullpen situation was going to require him to return to Rochester.

Molitor was not happy about being forced to do this, saying it was a “tough conversation.’’ Boshers had not been told about the possibility of going right back to Rochester before the game Sunday, since the Twins were hoping for much more from Gibson than 2 2/3 innings.

If Gibson had gone five or six, Boshers could have pitched an inning and been available for a bit more work on Monday. As it was, he threw 30 pitches, and that was deemed too many to help right away vs. the Rangers.

The Twins will add a pitcher on Monday. The Star Tribune’s Phil Miller is reporting Nick Tepesch will be placed on the 40-man, with Ryan O’Rourke going on the 60-day disabled list.

Boshers had taken advantage of the horrendous quality of the 2016 Twins’ pitching staff to spend two stretches of the season in the big leagues. He was modestly successful with a 4.25 ERA in 37 appearances as a left-handed reliever.

The Twins allowed him to retain his place on the 40-player major league roster through the winter. He went to spring training with a chance to be the second bullpen lefty (behind Taylor Rogers) and in competition with O’Rourke and Craig Breslow.

What followed in Florida was a zealous attempt by Boshers to lose his place on the big-league roster and to earn his release from the organization.

 Molitor kept running out Boshers, hoping to be impressed, and what the manager received was a 10.61 ERA in 10 appearances. Boshers pitched 9 1/3 innings and allowed 15 hits, including four home runs.

The assumption by most near the end of the exhibition schedule was that ByungHo Park would be added to the roster to serve as the designated hitter, and Boshers would be used to clear the required spot on the 40-man.

Derek Falvey, the new baseball boss, was not of a mind to give Park a place on the Opening Day roster based on what took place in spring training. So, PArk stayed on the Rochester roster, and Boshers was sent there on a big-league option.

On Saturday, the Twins were involved in one of the dreariest 9-inning marathons in franchise history, and then announced the first two roster moves of the season, involving rookie pitchers:

Lefthander Adalberto Mejia was heading to Rochester after three erratic starts, and reliever Justin Haley was going on the disabled list with alleged tendinitis in his right biceps.

The replacements were announced on Sunday:

First, there was Kennys Vargas, which brought no surprise. Vargas would’ve been on the team out of Florida if he had not spent most of three weeks on the bench for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic (and then fouled a ball off a foot and missed time with the Twins in late March).

Second, there was Boshers, which came with the reaction, “WHAT?’’

Boshers had pitched in six games with an ERA of 7.50 at Rochester. He gave up three runs in 1 1/3 innings in his first time out on April 10, and had barely pitched since then.

On the surface, choosing Boshers to fill a spot in the bullpen seemed a crazed devotion to the 40-player roster by Falvey’s brain trust.

This seemed so illogical that an explanation was sought from Thad Levine, the Twins’ general manager and consigliere to Falvey. The first pitcher mentioned to Levine as an alternative to Boshers was Tepesch.

“We are going with four starters for two weeks because of off days,’’ Levine said. “We would like to keep Nick stretched out as a possibility when we go  back to five starters.’’

Gibson’s latest calamity on Sunday wiped away that idea. There were hints Tepesch was the long reliever Molitor preferred at the end of spring training, but Falvey insisted that both Haley, the Rule 5 draftee, and Michael Tonkin, out of options, stuck on the 25-man roster.

Now, after a 2-7 homestand and 40 runs allowed in the last five games, room has been found for Tepesch – and Buddy Boshers is headed back to Rochester after an eight-up, seven-out effort in the 13-4 loss to the Tigers.

As a consolation, Buddy does have the coveted Atteberry player of the game honor to remember this quick return to the Twins.

Reusse: What's in an age? Mauer is turning a foreboding 34

Bloomington’s Kent Hrbek turned 34 on May 21, 1994. He was on the Twins’ disabled list. He returned in June and announced in early August that he would retire at season’s end. That season came to an abrupt end when the players went on strike after the games of Aug. 11.

Stillwater’s Glen Perkins turned 34 on March 2. He continues to rehab in Fort Myers, Fla., and could pitch again this season. Perkins also said earlier that he probably will quit if the Twins don’t pick up his option ($6.5 million) for 2018, and he realizes there is little chance of that.

St. Paul’s Joe Mauer will turn 34 on Wednesday. More and more, that birthday appears to be the jumping-off point for Minnesota natives who have been well-honored lifers for the Twins.

The difference in Joe’s case is he has $23 million guaranteed for 2018, while Hrbek was at the end of his contract in 1994 and Perkins can be bought out for $700,000 in 2018.

Over the previous two seasons, Mauer was swinging with authority in exhibitions and followed with strong Aprils, leading to optimistic media reports asking, “Is that the old Joe we’re seeing?’’

The answer was, “Not even close.’’

Mauer batted .256 with 98 strikeouts from May 1 to season’s end in 2015, and batted .249 with 84 strikeouts after May 1 in 2016. The Old Joe never had more than 64 strikeouts, and his batting averages ranged from .293 to .365 in his first seven seasons (2004 to ’10).

There were no optimistic sightings of the Old Joe reported from Fort Myers during the 2017 exhibition schedule. It wasn’t caution, since “Joe is back’’ reports make for good space fillers in March.

This spring, hitting the ball hard was very much an exception for Mauer, and there has been almost none of that to start the season. It’s early, but early was when we had optimism for Joe the previous two years.

He was at .189 with no extra-base hits through Saturday. You’d say “happy birthday” to Joe, but 34ths haven’t been fulfilling milestones for hometown boys and Twins lifers.

PATRICK'S PLUS THREE

Minnesota lefties with a Twins impact:

• Dick Stigman, Nimrod. He pitched four (1962 to ’65) of seven seasons for Twins; outstanding as spot starter and long reliever.

• Tom Burgmeier, St. Cloud. He was with Twins for four (1974 to ’77) of his 17 seasons. Gene Mauch pitched him 115 ⅓ innings as the bullpen lefty in 1976.

• Jerry Koosman, Appleton. One of the aces of 1969 Miracle Mets, “Koos’’ had two full seasons (1979 and ’80) for Twins and was 36-26 for non-contending teams.

Read Patrick Reusse’s blog at startribune.com/patrick. E-mail him at preusse@startribune.com.

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