Righthander Alex Wimmers, the Twins' first-round pick last year, has been removed from the starting rotation at Class A Fort Myers to work on his mechanics after an awful first outing on Monday.
Wimmers was removed from the game after giving up four runs and failing to retire a batter. Of the 28 pitches he threw, only four were strikes. He walked all six batters he faced and was charged with three wild pitches.
According to eyewitness accounts, he threw four pitches that hit the backstop on the fly.
It startled the Twins because Wimmers was known for having good control while pitching for Ohio State. After signing with the Twins following the draft -- which included a $1.33 million bonus -- Wimmers went 2-0 with a 0.57 ERA in four starts with Fort Myers with five walks and 23 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings.
Wimmers was slowed because of a sore hamstring for two weeks during spring training. Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said Wimmers pitched well during spring training games but did struggle in his final appearance before Monday's start.
"Wimmers had a tough outing," said Jim Rantz, the Twins' director of minor leagues, "and we have decided to take him out of the rotation and work with him on the side on a few things. We'll see if we can get him going."
Wimmers was placed on the seven-day disabled list because of flu-like symptoms. But it's his pitching the Twins are most concerned about.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka's fractured left fibula is still sore but the medical staff wanted him to move around a little bit. So Nishioka slowly limped out onto the field during early workouts to chat with coaches, then went off to foul territory to play catch with interpreter Ryo Shinkawa.
Nishioka is riding a stationary bike and doing some pool exercises this week while the soreness subsides. The Twins hope he can start running lightly in about two weeks.
"It's not a weight-bearing bone that he broke, so he can do those things," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's still a little sore, but we expect that. The best thing you can do is light movement, not jumping up and down on the thing but light movement like that. He just wants to be on the baseball field. He's probably going crazy in there [the clubhouse]. That's why he wants to be out on the field. It's going to be a while."
Nishioka will remain in the Twin Cities while the Twins play road games in Tampa and Baltimore over the next week.
Luke Hughes started at second base Tuesday for the third time since being called up to replace Nishioka and hit a two-run single in the Twins' 4-3, 10-inning victory over the Royals.
• Righthander Kevin Slowey, on the disabled list because of bursitis, also won't travel with the team on the upcoming road trip.
• Twins great Harmon Killebrew was unable to throw out the first pitch during the home opener on Friday because he remained in the Phoenix area to continue treatments in his battle with esophageal cancer. The club remains optimistic that the Hall of Famer will be in town June 29 to celebrate his 75th birthday and appear at his annual charity golf tournament.