BOSTON — Tommy Milone will rejoin the Twins today, but it’s possible his stay will last only one day.
Milone will start Thursday’s game against the Red Sox, helping ease the pitching shortage caused by today’s doubleheader. That pushes Kyle Gibson’s start back to Friday, in the opener of a three-game series with Milwaukee at Target Field.
Using a left-hander in Fenway Park was appealing, Molitor said, even though Milone’s experience in this park is dismal — in two starts, both with the A’s, Milone has pitched a total of 8 2/3 innings and allowed 13 runs, a 13.50 ERA. But the 28-year-old has been terrific since being sent to Class AAA Rochester last month, going 4-0 with a 0.70 ERA (he’s allowed three runs in 38 2/3 innings) in five starts.
Still, Molitor said the “best case” is that Milone makes only one start, because it would mean that Ricky Nolasco is healthy. Nolasco will test his sore right ankle on Thursday, and the manager said he’s been told “it’s 50-50” whether he can avoid a second stint on the disabled list, after missing three weeks in April with elbow irritation.
If Nolasco is able to pitch, he will start Saturday’s game against the Brewers; if not, the Twins may try to get by with a bullpen game, presumably started by J.R. Graham. In that case, they will have to option another player, almost certainly a relief pitcher, to make room for Milone; that pitcher would not be eligible to be recalled to the majors for 10 days.
As for today, the Twins will start Phil Hughes against Red Sox rookie Eduardo Rodriguez in the 12:35 p.m. (CDT) game, and Trevor May against Rick Porcello tonight.
The Twins are doing something rarely seen anymore — they’re taking batting practice before a doubleheader. That’s because they’ve been able to hit outside only twice in 11 days, and Molitor said “it felt like we hadn’t played in days” at the start of Tuesday’s game. He’s trying to get his team moving around, energized, in hopes they can end their Fenway shutout streak — they’ve scored only two runs in their last four games here over the past two seasons — with a few runs today.
Here are the lineups for today’s first game: