Fien impresses out of Twins bullpen

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 11, 2012 - 12:16 AM

Casey Fien.

Photo: Matt Strasen, Associated Press

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The Twins aren't just looking for starting pitching solutions for 2013. They need relievers, too, and certainly like what they have seen from righthander Casey Fien, who has a 1.32 ERA in 25 appearances.

Fien, who turns 29 next month, signed a minor league deal in January after getting a taste of the majors with the Tigers in 2009 and 2010 and then dealing with an elbow injury last year in the Astros organization.

He suffered fraying of his ulnar collateral ligament in April 2011, but rather than having Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery, he rehabbed the injury and returned two months later.

"I took a month off of throwing, did some rehab work, and I came back throwing harder than I was," Fien said.

Called up in July, Fien has a fastball that touched 95 miles per hour this year and averages 93.1 mph.

"He just takes the ball just about any time you want him to," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

"There's not too many days when he's too sore to go. He's got quality pitches -- an above-average fastball with a great slider. He's not afraid to pitch inside, so he's kind of one of those attackers."

Fien said he has learned a lot from teammate Jared Burton.

"I watch film with Burton and take so much from that," Fien said. "He's the guy I ask in the bullpen during games, 'How would you attack that hitter?' "

Asked if Fien has time to establish himself as an expected bullpen option for 2013, Gardenhire said: "He's doing that now. That's what it's all about, going out there and doing the job and coming to spring training with a good possibility that you'll be in the bullpen because you did the job."

Parmelee scratched

Chris Parmelee, who is batting .341 with three homers and 11 RBI since being recalled from Class AAA Rochester, was scratched from Monday's lineup because of right groin soreness and is day-to-day. He injured himself on a play in the outfield late in Sunday's victory.

Span ready to return

Denard Span said he will be ready to return from the 15-day disabled list Wednesday, the first day he is eligible. Span has a strained sternoclavicular joint in his right shoulder and said the injury feels good enough to play.

Vasquez update

Esmerling Vasquez will make another start for the Twins on Saturday against the White Sox, but it could be his last one if he doesn't show improvement. He is 0-1 with a 9.35 ERA in two starts, and the Twins were disappointed with his command and pitch selection in Sunday's three-inning effort.

Carroll hitting his stride

Jamey Carroll's playing time has been reduced this month, as the Twins take a look at rookie infielders Pedro Florimon and Eduardo Escobar, but Carroll has quietly put together a pretty good second half.

He is batting .304 with a .379 on-base percentage since the All-Star break after batting .234 with a .318 OBP in the first half.

"I feel like it's more of who I am than what it was from the beginning of spring training," Carroll said. "So whatever reason it's taken so long, it just feels nice to hit a spell where you feel like you're capable again."

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