The Twins hope they have seen the worst of Trevor May as he prepares to make his second career start, and Target Field debut, on Monday when he faces the Royals.
May gave up four runs in two innings — walking seven — in his major league debut on Aug. 9. They brought him in relief on Tuesday, and he gave up two runs over 2⅓ innings.
In two outings, May has walked nine batters over 4⅓ innings. He has not shown the form that has made him one of the top pitching prospects.
“It’s more of that I just want to contribute to this team as soon as possible,” said May, who has a 12.46 ERA in two appearances. “There are growing pains at every level; sometimes it’s worse than others, but it is about learning as fast as you can and just get back to the basics.”
It’s hard to fall down when you’re already on the floor, but May’s baptism is coming right when the Twins are playing Oakland, Kansas City, Cleveland, Detroit and Baltimore this month. They all are playoff contenders of varying degrees.
“It’s not going to get any easier with any of these guys because we are playing a bunch of teams in a pennant race,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Hopefully he’ll be able to manage his emotions. He’s overthrown the ball so far. He hasn’t located his fastball so far. All the things he’s done [in the minors], he’s got to bring it up here, and it is about remaining in control of yourself on the mound.
“He’s been like a raging bull out there. We have to calm him down a bit.”
Schafer works on bunts
Jordan Schafer knows how to bunt. He was second in the National League last season with eight bunt hits — and he played in just 94 games.
So he’s a little irked that most of his bunt attempts with the Twins so far have looked like he’s using the touch of a donkey.
He got a bunt down on Saturday to fuel a rally in the Twins’ 4-1 victory over Kansas City — but after he fouled off one attempt and pulled his bat back on a pitch that was called a strike.
“Bunting is one of the things I’m pretty good at. It’s definitely aggravating mentally when it takes me three pitches to get a bunt. Usually, it’s the first pitch and it’s over with and I can move on.
“I’m just thankful I was able to get it down and help us win a game.”
Schafer, claimed off waivers from Atlanta on Aug. 3, needs to get his bunts down. Every time he gets a single, it’s a good chance it will become a double, sort of. Schafer has good speed and excellent base-stealing instincts. He’s 6-for-6 in steal attempts since joining the Twins and has an 81 percent success rate in his career. So getting to first often means he’s about to end up at second.
With a .225 career batting average, the bunt must be a weapon for him.
The Twins have sat back and watched their new outfielder to see how he plays. But Gardenhire said they might pull out the pitching machine this week and have Schafer work on his bunting technique.
“He’s a little jabby right now,” Gardenhire said. “He says he’s a good bunter, one of those things he’s been able to do well. I think he’s trying to take it with him a little too much. He seems a little late in his set-up. Just keep working on it.”
“I need to take that extra time and make sure I get it down,” he said.
Byron Buxton, who suffered a concussion on Wednesday while playing in his debut game for Class AA New Britain, was expected to arrive in Fort Myers, Fla., on Sunday to continue his recovery. Like many who have suffered concussions, Buxton is dealing with aftereffects.
“He is stiff,” said Twins General Manager Terry Ryan, who was in the stands when Buxton collided with teammate Mike Kvasnicka while chasing after a fly ball in the outfield and was knocked out for several minutes.
Buxton is out indefinitely, but the Twins have not ruled out him playing again this season if he’s cleared by the league.