FORT MYERS, Fla. — Blaine Boyer has made the Twins. As an added bonus, he’s even getting a start.
Scheduled starter Kyle Gibson showed up feeling sick today, and the Twins decided to take no chances with the regular season just a week away. Gibson was sent home and the Twins decided to use tonight’s game against the Red Sox to test their bullpen’s ability to pitch two innings.
Boyer will get the start, and it’s not a bad way to celebrate. The 33-year-old righthander, who retired from the game three years ago, was informed by manager Paul Molitor that he has made the team with his outstanding work this spring. Boyer, whose contract was selected by the Twins, has appeared in seven games so far and allowed a run in only one of them. He has posted a spring ERA of 1.69 in 10 2/3 innings.
“I’m super excited,” Boyer said. “As a pitcher, you’ve got to have that confidence that you’re going to do well, but you never know. I’ve seen things go south real quick and nor real quick, and I’m just thankful to the Twins for giving me this opportunity.”
After Boyer’s two-inning stint — he’s never started a regular-season game in the majors, by the way — Brian Duensing will pitch two innings, followed by J.R. Graham and Caleb Thielbar, also two innings apiece. Minor-league pitchers will be used after that, if necessary.
Meanwhile, Josmil Pinto said he felt great after playing four innings in a Class AA game this afternoon. He caught three innings and went to the plate three times, grounding out once and drawing two walks. “It’s good. I’m OK,” Pinto said after he passed his concussion test and was cleared by Major League Baseball to return to action.
Pinto will play in another minor-league game on Tuesday. Does he think he’ll be ready to head to Detroit with the rest of the Twins this weekend? “I hope. I hope,” he said.
Tonight’s game at jetBlue Park will be televised by the MLB Network, and begins at 6 p.m. CDT. Here is the Twins’ lineup:
Boyer RHP, followed by Duensing, Graham, Thielbar.