SEATTLE – Pat Dean, pumped up and enjoying the thrill of his first big-league win Friday night, called his wife Katie to share the moment after the game.
“We talked for about five minutes, and then she sort of faded,” Dean said with a laugh. “I understood. It was after 3 a.m. there” at their New Jersey home.
Still, it was a great experience, Dean said, and it came with a valuable prize: A chance to enjoy that thrill again. Dean, a fill-in starter for the past 10 days, will definitely make another start Wednesday in Oakland, manager Paul Molitor confirmed.
“It’s a hot hand, and he’s feeling confident in what he’s doing,” Molitor said. “There was a lot to like last night. The biggest thing was the way he commanded his pitches and wasn’t afraid to use both sides [of the strike zone].”
Dean’s presence in the rotation, however, means Kyle Gibson, out for a month with a strained shoulder, is officially in limbo. Gibson pitched well in his second Class A rehab start Friday in Florida, throwing 72 pitches, and he appeared slotted in to Dean’s spot next week.
“It’s a little tricky, that’s all I can tell you,” Molitor said. “We haven’t concluded how the Kyle Gibson saga is going to unfold. He’s going to throw a side [session] down in Florida [on Sunday]. And we’ll see how the next couple of days go. We have options.”
One of them is to ask Gibson to make a third start in the minors, in order to get his pitch count even higher “so we don’t have to worry about that being a hindrance in terms of how far he can go in his next start,” Molitor said. “We’ll see how the next couple of days go.”
Plouffe to avoid DL stint
Trevor Plouffe wasn’t in the lineup Saturday, and he won’t play Sunday, either. But Molitor said it appears that his third baseman, who left Friday’s game in the fourth inning with what the Twins feared was a sprained knee ligament, won’t need to be placed on the disabled list.
Plouffe had an MRI on his knee Saturday, and the ligament isn’t actually sprained.
“We got good news today, actually. It appears to be more of a bone bruise situation,” Molitor said. He’s got a lot of bone-on-bone contact, which is limiting him a little bit in his ability to drive off that back leg when he swings, as well as mobility in the field. We’re going to try to treat it, and if we can, back him off for a couple days here and see how he is by the time we get to Oakland” on Monday.
The knee has bothered Plouffe for a few days but felt better Saturday — so good, in fact, that he’s not completely unavailable this weekend, the manager said.
“I think would be available in an emergency if I need him, which is nice to know when you only have a couple people on the bench,” Molitor said.
Pitching coaches in flux
Interim pitching coach Eric Rasmussen said it was exciting to be back in a major-league dugout Friday and particularly rewarding to watch a player he’s worked with since the 2010 draft succeed against one of the AL’s best pitchers.
“That was all his doing,” Rasmussen said. “I just got to sit back and admire his work.”
Molitor said he spoke with Neil Allen on Saturday — “I’m going to try to stay in touch as much as I can,” he said — and said the team’s pitching coach is doing well, “all things considered.”
Allen has been suspended indefinitely with pay in the wake of his arrest early Thursday on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. Nothing has been determined yet about what course the team will take, Molitor said, but “the club has its policies and protocols, and he’s on board with all those things.”