Addison Reed was nearly unhittable the first few weeks of his Twins career, but recent outings have been vastly different.
After landing in a seven-game rut during which he gave up seven earned runs over 6⅔ innings — and three of the six homers he has given up this season — Twins manager Paul Molitor decided to pump the breaks with his key setup man.
“I think he’s getting a little antsy to pitch,” Molitor said, “and I’m looking for a chance to get him in there.”
Reed got his chance with a scoreless seventh inning Wednesday night, giving up a two-out single to Mookie Betts in only his second appearance since June 10. The reduced workload gave him a chance to catch his breath and regroup. Reed has lamented pitches that he’s left over the plate after rough outings.
“We’re kind of trying to reset him a little bit,” Molitor said. “He has gone through a tough stretch of games. Sometimes, I think, you have to make a little adjustment on how you are using a guy and get him back on track.”
Ryan Pressly and Trevor Hildenberger have been used in late-inning situations while Reed, with a 3.67 ERA, will be eased back into those spots.
Molitor had Reed warming up for the eighth inning Tuesday in case Boston sent a pinch hitter to the plate, but stuck with lefthander Zach Duke.
Mauer on the bench
Molitor planned to alternate Joe Mauer and Logan Morrison against Boston’s double bubble of lefthanded trouble in Chris Sale and David Price. Mauer, batting .216 in his career against Price, was on the bench Wednesday while Morrison started at first base.
The move had nothing to do with the two times Mauer was hit by pitches Wednesday, including once on the hand by Sale.
“He’s good to go,” Molitor said. “He’s available. With the hand, it hit him in the meaty back of the hand, which is good. It deflected off the face but he’s doing well.”
Sano, Buxton both play
Miguel Sano went 0-for-4 with a strikeout Wednesday for Class A Fort Myers in a 5-1 loss to Tampa. Sano has played in two of three games since arriving at Fort Myers to work on his swing and fitness.
Byron Buxton was 1-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base on Wednesday for Class AAA Rochester in a 2-0 victory against Syracuse. Molitor is encouraged that Buxton is no longer having problems with a left toe that was fractured on April 22. Buxton can focus on the offensive side of the game with no limitations.
“He’s playing and he is going to keep going out there,” Molitor said. “And the good news is that, physically, he’s able to do some of the things he needs to do to get back on track.”
Lefthander Adalberto Mejia threw seven shutout innings in the game, walking one and striking out eight on his 25th birthday.
One thing that is getting overlooked amid Eduardo Escobar’s doubles spree is that he entered Wednesday second in the AL with a .422 batting average with runners in scoring position. That is significant for a team that has had trouble scoring consistently.
“You look, there’s a lot of analytics in the game and I monitor those guys who are doing well in those situations,” Molitor said. “He’s been up there and Mauer [.333] has too. Rosie [Eddie Rosario] has been better this year.
“So yeah, you need those guys, whether it is two outs or less than two outs, you get enough opportunities, the guys with numbers at the top end, that’s why their run production is where it is at.”