The Twins on Sunday addressed one of several problems as they designated righthander Sidney Ponson for assignment.
To replace Ponson on the roster, Garrett Jones, a lefthanded hitting first baseman who is learning to play the outfield, has been called up from Class AAA Rochester and is expected to be the designated hitter Tuesday when the Twins open a three-game series at Cleveland.
Ponson's spot in the rotation doesn't come up until Saturday against Milwaukee during interleague play. The Twins will call up someone from Rochester for that spot, most likely righthander Scott Baker, while lefthander Glen Perkins remains in the bullpen.
It's the first attempt to shake up a team that entered Sunday 6-13 since April 21.
"We have some things that need to be cleaned up," said Twins General Manager Terry Ryan. "It hasn't been a good stretch. For the last 10-12 games, we have not played solid fundamental baseball in a lot of areas.
"One day it's one thing, and the next day it's another thing."
Ryan added that the pitching has been acceptable, but "it comes a time when you say you have to make a move."
Ponson gave up five earned runs over four innings on Saturday in a loss to Detroit, making him 2-5 with a 6.93 ERA in seven starts. In 372/3 innings, he allowed 74 batters to reach base.
"I had a feeling yesterday that it might happen," Ponson said. "And it happened and I have to live with it and go through it. I'm going to go home and ship everything to Florida. Go sit on the beach and enjoy it."
Ponson made the team out of spring training in what some viewed as a last chance to turn his career around after a few brushes with the law. At times, Ponson looked like he was worth the club's $1 million investment in him. But he couldn't get on top of his sinker consistently.
"Not good enough," Ryan said.
So Ponson was designated for assignment for the third time in 10 months. The Twins have 10 days to trade him, release him or send him to the minors, but a release is most likely.
"It takes time for things to fall in place, and it didn't fall in place here," he said. "I tried my best. I always go out there and put everything I can out there and leave it on the field, and it was not good enough. They want to win, everyone wants to win, and they had to make a move and it happens."
Jones, 25, was batting .305 at Rochester with five homers and 23 RBI. He moved to the outfield during spring training and looked raw out there while batting .205 with a homer and seven RBI, but the Twins say his defense has improved. He'll likely start out as the DH while working out in left field with coach Jerry White.
"We're just going to put him in the lineup and see what happens," Gardenhire said. "He's going to start Tuesday. Get someone to drive the baseball."
Baker is 3-2 with a 3.16 ERA at Rochester after losing on Sunday to Buffalo. Righthander Kevin Slowey is 3-2 with a 1.51 ERA and also is a candidate, but Baker has more experience at the AAA level than Slowey and the Twins might feel that Baker has earned another shot.
That leaves Perkins, 0-0 with a 3.26 ERA. in the bullpen for now.
"We're not going to move Perkins," Gardenhire said. "We like him where he's at. We'll bring up another pitcher."