DETROIT – Trevor May, whose move from the rotation to the bullpen in July stabilized the Twins’ late-inning structure, has been slowed in recent days by a sore lower back. General Manager Terry Ryan said May is day-to-day.
May, who has pitched in only one game since Sept. 19, tried getting loose before Friday’s game but was unable to. Despite being in the heat of a playoff race, the Twins sat him again, although they could have used him during a 6-4 loss to the Tigers in which Detroit rallied in the seventh and eighth innings.
“We don’t think it’s all that serious,” Ryan said, “but he’s still not feeling 100 percent.”
May said after the game that he planned on being available Saturday and that he expected to pitch with some discomfort the rest of the season.
He is 4-8 with a 4.43 ERA as a starter but 4-1 with a 3.14 ERA as a reliever. He was moved to the bullpen when Ervin Santana returned from his 80-game drug suspension in July, and May has warmed to the role. But Ryan made it clear that he sees May’s future as a starter.
“I like the fact he can be a 30-start, 200-inning guy,” Ryan said.
Milone session coming
If Tommy Milone is going to contribute at all the rest of the season, he will have to help the cause from the bullpen.
That’s how manager Paul Molitor shaped things as Milone prepares to throw a bullpen session Saturday to see if his shoulder fatigue has improved.
“We will see what level of intensity, percentage-wise, he can invest in his pitches and how long he can go,” Molitor said. “His shoulder has been slow to respond.
“We’ll see how he does [Saturday]. Right now, I’m not counting on him getting another start.”
Milone, 8-5 with a 4.08 ERA, was knocked out of his Sept. 12 start against the White Sox in the fourth inning, then failed to get out of the second inning Sept. 17 against the Angels. It was after that when the lefthander reported fatigue in his shoulder.
“Everything feels normal,” Milone said. “But when I go out there, nothing is coming out the same way.”
The Twins reinstated righthander Ricky Nolasco from the 60-day disabled list. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, lefthander Logan Darnell was put on the 60-day DL. Darnell never pitched after being called up from Class AAA Rochester because of pneumonia.
Nolasco, who hasn’t pitched since May 31 because of a right ankle impingement that led to surgery, likely will be used in long relief. It will be hard to the Twins to use him in any high-leverage situations because he has been out for so long.
But, he’s here. Nolasco is 5-1 with a 5.51 ERA in seven starts.
“We have another healthy arm out there for us if we need him,” Molitor said.
Last days off
The season is nearly over, but Molitor doesn’t want to run certain players into the ground if he can avoid it.
“Trying to figure out how to spell a couple guys here between now and the end, with 10 games to go,” he said.
Molitor said he intends to give catcher Kurt Suzuki — who has taken foul balls and backswings off his body — a day off sometime soon. And Molitor is always monitoring how Torii Hunter feels, although the 40-year-old wants to play every day.
First baseman Joe Mauer — whose team-record streak of reaching base 43 games in a row ended Friday — has indicated he won’t need another day off. He already has reached a career high in games played.