The bullpen-by-committee approach can be tough for a manager to pull off. Pitchers usually like to come to ballpark knowing they will be used in the sixth, seventh or eighth innings. Some relievers aren't comfortable not knowing when to be ready. Remember how Glen Perkins wasn't sure about how he was used late last season?
What the Twins are doing now is not a full-fledged committee. But Twins manager Paul Molitor is going to try to use Brandon Kintzler and and Fernando Abad as the last men standing.
``We kind of had some discussions around here about how we are using our bullpen,'' Molitor said. ``And we're having to mix and match. I don't know if it is a classic bullpen-by-committee but we're having to change roles here in the short term and give some people some opportunity. And (Kintzler) has done very well. ''
It will be interesting to see how Kintzler handles the role. He can touch 94 on the gun but he's really a sinkerballer. Abad is in the middle of a strong season during which he's handled lefties and righties well. That's the tough one to figure out because using Abad as a closer takes away their lefty destroyer. Are the Twins ready to try Taylor Rogers in that role?
And when will they let Kevin Jepsen pitch to try to get his form back? Jepsen was a savior last year when he was needed to step in as closer but now has a 6.17 ERA in 25 games.
``I'm a big fan of Kevin,'' Molitor said. ``I know he's got the experience. I don't think he gets nervous per se. It's been a little bit of a struggle for him trying to find rhythm and clean innings. So we talked about getting him into different situations in the short term and see how it goes.''
Kintzler feels the current bullpen setup can work.
``As long as you are just ready you will be O.K.,'' he said. ``I remember in Milwaukee I was the eighth inning guy but sometimes I had to go out for the seventh.''
How did the Twins get to this point? Some people have pitched themselves into consideration and a few have pitched themselves out. Rogers has had a few solid outings coming out of the bullpen. Ryan Pressly has looked good the last two outings. Trevor May has been streaky but just overcame a sore back and retired the only batter he faced on Wednesday.
One thing is for sure, the coaching staff has seen enough and are making some moves. It will be interesting to see how they respond to the new responsibilities.
``A lot of guys are throwing the ball better,'' Molitor said. ``Right now, on any given day, I'm kind of shaping up with Kintzler and Abad closer to the back end, depending on the matchup, the eighth and ninth innings and how I use those two guys. I don't want to have to save them both for the ninth inning all the time, because that would tax everyone else, but we're trying to get to those two guys late.''
While we're discussing bullpen construction, when will the Twins give J.T. Chargois a chance? He threw 1.1 scoreless innings on Wednesday and now his ERA is 0.73. He has struck out 20 batters in 12.1 innings. He has major league talent.