ATLANTA – When Kyle Gibson is called up to the Twins, “you want him to be here and stay here” permanently, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “And right now, he’s not quite there.”
That’s why the former first-round draft pick, along with Rochester righthander P.J. Walters and lefthander Andrew Albers, were passed over for a spot in the Twins’ rotation. When the Twins face the Tigers on Friday, Samuel Deduno will be the starter, and his major league experience — 15 starts last year, including two against Detroit — is a big part of the reason.
“I know for a fact [the Tigers] don’t like facing him,” Gardenhire said of the team’s consensus choice to promote the 29-year-old Dominican to face the major leagues’ highest-scoring team. “They’ve got a great-hitting lineup, but Deduno, he’s pretty filthy. He can scare the living fire out of you, because he’s going to wing it.”
Deduno held the Tigers to three runs over seven innings last Aug. 14, then was shelled for seven runs in 2 ⅓ innings in Detroit last September. But “we were looking for a chance to compete and win a ballgame,” Gardenhire said, “and we thought he gives us the best chance right now.”
Deduno has struck out 17 batters over 16 ⅔ innings for Class AAA Rochester this year, posting a 2.70 ERA after recovering from a groin injury. He also beat the United States and Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic last March.
Gibson is close, but the Twins still are concerned about his good game/bad game pattern, Gardenhire said.
“They’re looking for him to hopefully put together a few [strong] starts before we bring him up, because once you bring that guy up, you want him to be here and stay here,” he said. “And right now, he’s not quite there. That’s the belief.”
Deduno’s schedule start Tuesday was canceled, and he threw a long bullpen session instead. He will fly to Detroit on Thursday night and will be activated on Friday, when the Twins will have to cut another player to make room. Will the Twins stick with a 13-man bullpen, or send out a reliever?
“We’ve been talking about that, too, about the number of pitchers we keep for Detroit, or getting back to two games in Milwaukee, whether we want to make another decision to bring a position player back for that one,” Gardenhire said. “We’re discussing all those things.”
Colabello keeps hitting
One more thing the Twins are discussing: how to add Chris Colabello’s hot bat to the roster.
“We’re looking at all kinds of options [about] how to give this kid a chance,” Gardenhire said. “All I can tell Chris is, keep swinging, and something will shake itself out.”
Colabello has done plenty of swinging — he’s batting .360 for the season, and .541 with four homers and 15 RBI over his past 10 games for Rochester. This week the first baseman began playing right field for the Red Wings, because “he’s not going to play first base here,” Gardenhire said. “You better figure out someplace we can play him before we bring him up here.”