Contenders rough up Deduno

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 22, 2012 - 8:02 PM

DETROIT - A successful season has started to unravel for Twins pitcher Samuel Deduno.

After going 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA in his first 12 starts, the 29-year-old rookie has had two chances to impact the pennant race and struggled both times.

He gave up four runs over four innings in a loss to the White Sox on Sept. 15, and Saturday he gave up seven runs over 2 1/3 innings in an 8-0 loss to Doug Fister and the Tigers.

"I feel bad for Sammy," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "They were banging some balls -- the big three-run homer by Delmon [Young] -- and a lot of balls found holes. That's what that team over there does. They found a way to put some runs on the board, and it was like a freight train. We couldn't stop them."

Deduno's next start will come either Wednesday against the Yankees or next weekend against the Tigers, so he can still do some damage against a contender.

"I'm doing the same thing I was doing before, but everything I'm throwing, they hit," Deduno said.

Capps returning Monday

The Twins plan to reinstate former closer Matt Capps from the disabled list Monday. Out since July 17 because of right rotator cuff irritation, Capps pitched a simulated game Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla., and all went well.

"He feels fine, so we'll find a spot for him here," General Manager Terry Ryan said. "We're certainly not going to put him in situations that he's not prepared for, but we'll get him [to Minnesota] on Monday and see how he feels."

Capps, 29, went 1-3 with a 3.09 ERA in his first 25 appearances, converting 14 of 15 save opportunities before injuring his shoulder June 15. The Twins likely will decline his $6 million option for next year, exercising a $250,000 buyout, but this gives Capps a chance to prove the injury is behind him as he nears free agency.

"It's more peace of mind for Matt," Ryan said. "As long as he's healthy, that's the most important thing."

Blackburn not finished

Even though Nick Blackburn has been removed from the 40-man major-league roster, the Twins plan to bring him spring training as a minor league invitee. No matter how he pitches, the Twins will pay him $5.5 million in the final guaranteed year of his contract.

Blackburn, 30, went 4-9 with a 7.39 ERA this year in 19 starts.

"Right now we're going on without him; it's up to him to get back in our good graces," Ryan said. "It's not work ethic, and it's not that he's not a good guy or a good teammate -- he's all of the above. Now it's time for him to get the job done on that mound.

"In fact, I'm rooting for him, and not just because we've got a lot invested in him. I'm rooting for him because he's a good guy. We can use his help.

"He's got enough stuff. Now it's a matter of using it and getting people out. He's going to have to convince some people that he's going to be a guy here, but he'll get a good look."

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