These are the dog days of the season, where pitchers sometimes hit a wall.
But two graduates of the Tommy John school of surgery in the rotation — righthanders Mike Pelfrey and Kyle Gibson — are being watched for clues that it might be time to take them out of the rotation.
Gibson has thrown exactly 140 innings — 47⅓ with the Twins, 92⅔ at Class AAA Rochester — this season. Gibson, 2-3 with a 6.27 ERA, is expected to be eventually pulled from the rotation, but he continues to tell the coaching staff that he feels great during bullpen sessions. Still, pitching coach Rick Anderson, manager Ron Gardenhire and General Manager Terry Ryan are all watching closely. There have been indications that the Twins will eventually move Gibson out of the rotation and let him pitch occasionally out of the bullpen — which will be easier when rosters can expand in September. But they have kept their exact plans to themselves.
“You look for when his stuff starts to dip or he comes out and says he’s tired, “ Anderson said. “He hasn’t let on to any of that, but we’re watching where he’s at. We’ll keep an eye on him.”
Pelfrey has thrown 114 ⅔ innings while going 4-10, 5.26. He has a better chance of finishing the season in the rotation than Gibson, but Anderson doesn’t want to push it, either. Anderson and Pelfrey have decided to skip his between-starts bullpen session, opting for a session of long toss and other drills to maintain his mechanics.
Anderson felt Pelfrey looked stronger in his last outing, so they will try this approach.
“I said to him, ‘You have worked too hard for me to hurt you. If you feel you are tired and I feel you’re done, we’ll look at that,’ ” Anderson said. “I’m not going to do something stupid just because he has worked so hard to get to this point.”
Class A Fort Myers manager Doug Mientkiewicz is expected to be disciplined by the Florida State League for his confrontation with Bradenton manager Frank Kremblas during a game on Saturday.
According to reports, the managers got into a scuffle after Miracle pitcher Jason Wheeler hit Dan Gamache with a pitch. The managers locked arms and rolled around on the ground as players joined in. Both managers were ejected.
Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said the confrontation took place because of a misunderstanding and has been cleared up. The team already has spoken with Mientkiewicz about the situation.
“It has been discussed, “ Ryan said. “Doug was apologetic. The important thing after this episode is that the two managers got together and talked it out.
“Of course, both of them got ejected so they had plenty of time to talk.”
Fort Myers entered Sunday with the best overall record in the FSL, at 71-49. Mientkiewicz has seen several players promoted to Class AA New Britain this season, including top prospects Miguel Sano and Eddie Rosario. He currently has outfielder Byron Buxton, considered by some as the best prospect in the game.
The club is pleased with Mientkiewicz, a former Twins first baseman, in his first season as manager.
“He’s very emotional, I can tell you that, “ Ryan said. “He’s very protective. His philosophy is to do things right, even at the expense of a player having to sit for a while. Players need to learn how to play the game, especially down at A-ball. Doug can teach.”