De Vries could return for a start

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 27, 2012 - 11:15 AM
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Cole De Vries

Photo: Nam Y. Huh, Associated Press

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Eden Prairie native Cole De Vries has put himself in position for another promotion to the Twins after a string of good outings for Class AAA Rochester.

The righthander held Charlotte to two runs over eight innings Monday in a 4-2 victory. The Twins need another pitcher for Saturday's doubleheader against the Royals, and De Vries would be pitching on regular rest that day.

"We'll let you know," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He threw well [Monday]. He's lined up really well. We'll see. We like to tell the player before we tell you [reporters]."

A former Gophers pitcher who went undrafted, De Vries was 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA in three starts for the Twins before being sent back to Rochester last month. His first start back with the Red Wings was rough, as he gave up six runs in two innings at Indianapolis.

But in three starts since that outing, he is 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA.

A new rule this season allows teams to add a 26th player to their roster for a doubleheader, so the Twins could promote De Vries for the day without having to cut anyone.

Pavano's progress slow

Righthander Carl Pavano, who landed on the disabled list June 2 because of right rotator cuff weakness, has played long toss but has yet to throw from a mound. General Manager Terry Ryan said it's hard for anyone to predict how long it will be before Pavano returns from the DL.

"I've always said it's going to be in July," Ryan said. "I'm hoping it's more in the middle of July than late July, but I can start to see right now, it's starting to inch back."

Next in line: Burnett

Gardenhire said he wanted to avoid using Jared Burton on Tuesday, so a ninth-inning save opportunity would have gone to Glen Perkins, with Alex Burnett moving into an eighth-inning role.

That says something about the growing confidence the Twins have in Burnett, who entered Tuesday with a 1.27 ERA in his previous 18 appearances. Gardenhire said one key has been Burnett's ability to throw first-pitch breaking balls for strikes.

"That gets them off his fastball," Gardenhire said. "It's really helped everything he has."

Sparkling debut

Lefthander Tyler Robertson made his major league debut with the Twins trailing 3-0 in the eighth inning and struck out the side, retiring Alejandro De Aza, Kevin Youkilis and Adam Dunn.

"I was nervous, but it was a good kind of nervous," Robertson said. "I was confident. I've been waiting for this moment for a long time, and I felt like I was ready. But I mean, you can't prepare for pitching in front of that many people if you've never done it before, and it got loud, and I loved it."

Etc.

• Justin Morneau, who has one home run in June, has been on the field for early batting practice the past two days, hitting off a tee with a fungo bat. He said the drill helps him find a proper swing that will generate backspin.

• P.J. Walters (right shoulder inflammation) is on track to make a rehab start for Rochester on Sunday. Ryan said he is not sure if Walters will need multiple rehab starts before returning.

• Scott Baker (elbow ligament replacement surgery) said his rehab is going well and that he is determined to be ready to pitch again by spring training.

• Brian Duensing's next start will come Friday vs. the Royals, Gardenhire said.

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