The Twins will use their 34th pitcher of the season, adding to a club record, when they play a doubleheader in Chicago against the White Sox on Monday. And it will be someone who wasn’t even with a major league organization on Opening Day.
Tim Melville, a 2008 fourth-round pick of the Royals, will be called up from Class AAA Rochester in time to pitch one the games, with fellow righthander Dillon Gee starting the other.
Melville, 27, pitched winter ball in Mexico but was unable to hook on with a major league team. He was pitching for Long Island of the Atlantic League when the Twins signed him June 12. He is 4-3 with a 2.70 ERA in 11 games with the Red Wings, 10 of them starts.
“He’s been throwing the ball well,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “We need somebody and it’s going to be an opportunity for him to come up and help us.”
Melville, 27, debuted with the Reds in 2016, giving up 11 runs over nine innings. “I think that his command has held him back in the past,” Molitor said. “He’s throwing more strikes. He’s certainly throwing it hard enough.”
Melville will also be the Twins’ 15th starter of the season, and Gee the 16th. And the Twins have used 47 players. Once Melville and catcher Mitch Garver get in a game, the Twins will tie their club record for players used in a season with 49, set last year.
Melville is getting the nod instead of lefthander Stephen Gonsalves, the Twins’ top pitching prospect. The 23-year-old Gonsalves was recently promoted to Rochester from Class AA Chattanooga and has made only two starts with the Red Wings, which might have been a factor in the decision.
Molitor said the Twins haven’t decided if Melville will be their 26th player for the doubleheader. They could call him up by sending down a player, which gives them flexibility to add someone else as the 26th player.
Cuddyer, Twins HOF
Michael Cuddyer on Saturday became the 29th member of the Twins Hall of Fame. And adoring fans interrupted his speech several times with applause as he thanked virtually everyone who helped him along the way.
He saved the best for last, noting that he would see Cuddyer No. 5 jerseys in the stands even when he finished his career with the Rockies and Mets.
“I’m eternally grateful and I love you all,” Cuddyer said.
His 15-year career included two All-Star Game appearances and 28 postseason games, including a record 22 with the Twins. But being named a Twins Hall of Famer? “This is the pinnacle,” he said.
Cuddyer talked about the many friendships and relationships he built during his career. He now has rejoined the Twins as a special assistant, getting a chance to see the game from another perspective.
The only thing that went wrong Saturday was Cuddyer’s ceremonial first pitch, which sailed wide of former manager Ron Gardenhire and to the backstop.
Umpires against abuse
Umpire Angel Hernandez worked home plate for Saturday’s Twins-Diamondbacks game — his first calling balls and strikes since ejecting Detroit’s Ian Kinsler in Texas on Monday — and he did so while wearing a white wristband on his left arm.
Some umpires wore a wristband Saturday in protest of what they considered to be a light punishment from Major League Baseball, after Kinsler said Tuesday that Hernandez should be out of a job because of his poor career performance. Kinsler was fined but not suspended.
Crew chief Ted Barrett also wore a white wristband. John Tumpane and Sean Barber did not.
Molitor said there are parameters for dealing with umpires but is aware that sometimes lines can be crossed.
“There’s always been banter,” said Molitor, who has been ejected from one game this season and five in his career. “I think, for the most part, myself and people I’ve had a chance to play for, we try to do it respectfully and let your opinion known. That should be part of the game.”