Twins General Manager Terry Ryan was worried when Jeff Manship returned to Class AAA Rochester in late June. The righthanded reliever departed with a 10.97 ERA in eight major league games.
"You always worry about sending a guy [back] that gets hit around here, but he went back and did what he was supposed to," Ryan said Monday as Manship returned to the Twins, taking the roster spot of the traded Francisco Liriano. "Plus, he's got a lot of versatility for the pitching staff."
Manship is thankful for the past month he spent in Rochester. Not only did he collect a lot of innings, but he was efficient each time out. Used as a starter in his six appearances, he gave up five earned runs in 31 innings (a 1.45 ERA) while striking out 22.
Establishing the use of all four pitches in every count was the reason for the success, Manship said. He said he became more comfortable with his changeup, helping him avoid the need to be too fine.
"It was good I got sent down," said Manship, who has gone between the Twins and Rochester each of the past four seasons. "I was putting too much pressure to do too much last time here."
Close friend Cole De Vries was excited to see the Manship back in the clubhouse. Both have been up and down this year and can relate to the challenges of feeling comfortable at different levels.
"We've been the same spot," De Vries said after greeting Manship with a handshake. "These are tough situations, so all we can do sometimes is just encourage them."
Ryan said Manship could be used as a starter or a long reliever, but currently is working out of the bullpen. Manager Ron Gardenhire said after the Twins' 7-6 victory that Manship wasn't available to pitch Monday night, though.
Still early for Valencia
Manager Ron Gardenhire said the few games Danny Valencia has played since his return from Rochester aren't going to make or break his chances of continuing to earn playing time.
The Opening Day third baseman returned to the Twins on Saturday to help fill in for the injured Trevor Plouffe, who is on the 15-day disabled list because of an injured thumb.
He had a productive game Monday night, driving in runs in each of his first two plate appearances before leading off the ninth inning with a single. Pinch runner Alexi Casilla came around to score the winning run.
"He just got here," Gardenhire said before the game of Valencia. "He's working hard and moving fine over there. I just told him to enjoy the game."
In the mix
Eduardo Escobar was the first player dealt in the Liriano trade to make an impact for his new team. The former White Sox infielder debuted at third base for Rochester on Monday, going 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
The Twins' other acquisition, lefthander Pedro Hernandez, is scheduled to start Saturday for Rochester. He is currently with his wife celebrating the birth of a daughter.
Pavano back in action
Righthander Carl Pavano (shoulder) will begin his rehab Thursday in the Gulf Coast League. He is scheduled to throw 40 pitches in his first game action since June 1.
Pavano, who was transferred to the 60-day disabled list last week, has missed 50 games.