La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Twins recall Michael Tonkin

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: August 20, 2013 - 10:15 AM

The Twins have recalled righthanded reliever Michael Tonkin from class AAA Rochester. He'll assume the roster spot once held by righthander Kyle Gibson before he was demoted to Class AAA Rochester on Monday following a run of poor starts.

Tonkin, 23, has emerged as one of the Twins' best relief prospects thanks to a fastball that hits 95 miles an hour
(and above) and a good slider. Between 22 games at Class AA New Britain and 25 games at Class AAA Rochester, Tonkin  was 2-2 with a 2.39 ERA with 13 walks and 60 strikeouts in 52.2 innings.

The Twins called up Tonkin in July when Caleb Thielbar went on bereavement leave. He tossed 1.1 scoreless innings then, including a strikeout of Evan Longoria on a 96 mile an hour fastball.

Tonkin's promotion could be an indicator that Anthony Swarzak could get the start Saturday when the Twins play Cleveland. Swarzak pitched three innings in relief of Gibson on Monday, throwing 55 pitches.

The Twins rotation could suddenly be in a little flux, with Gibson being sent down and Samuel Deduno battling some soreness in his shoulder. Scott Diamond and P.J. Walters are candidates, although Walters would have to be placed on the 40-man roster. Liam Hendriks could get some consideration too. He pitched well when called up Aug. 9 to pitch in a doubleheader in Chicago.- and threw eight shutout innings on Monday for the Red Wings.

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