Devin Smeltzer has been called up by the Twins from Class AAA Rochester and will make his major league debut by starting tonight’s game against the Brewers at Target Field.
Michael Pineda, who started Monday’s 5-4 loss to Milwaukee, went on the 10-day injured list because of right knee tendinitis.
Smeltzer, 23, had a 1.82 ERA in four starts for the Red Wings. In nine minor league games this year with Rochester and Class AA Pensacola he is 3-2 with a 1.15 ERA, 48 strikeouts in 54⅔ innings and an opponents’ batting average of .199.
The Twins got Smeltzer in the Brian Dozier trade with Los Angeles, along with minor league outfielder Luke Raley and second baseman Logan Forsythe, last July. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder was a fifth-round pick by the Dodgers out of San Jacinto Junior College in Houston in 2016. He will wear No. 31 tonight, and he has an interesting back story as a cancer survivor at age 9.
Smeltzer was diagnosed with cancer when a tumor formed against his bladder that was connected to prostate. He had surgery and chemotherapy at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia. He has been in full remission since 2012 with minor procedures since then for effects of radiation and chemo.
Pineda is 4-3 with a 5.34 ERA after missing last season while first recovering from Tommy John surgery, then surgery to repair a meniscus in his right knee. The Twins will push back their starting rotation, with Martin Perez opening a four-game series in Tampa Bay on Thursday night. With off days Wednesday and Monday, the Twins would not have needed Pineda as the fifth starter until June 8.
Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, speaking on MLB Radio on Tuesday morning, said the Twins were being careful with Pineda, whose knee surgery was in October.
“It was something we knew we would have to manage at some point and take a short break,” Baldelli said. “He’s going to miss a start but we think he’s very capable of being ready to pitch right off the IL.”
Smeltzer’s spot on the Twins’ 40-man roster opened when the team designated pitcher Austin Adams for assignment on Friday. Adams was claimed off waivers by the Tigers.
Twins right fielder Max Kepler was named American League player of the week after hitting .571 with 10 runs, three home runs and 10 RBI last week.
He has a nine-game hitting streak dating to May 16 and has at least two hits in his past six games.
Eight Twins on All-Star ballot
The MLB All-Star ballot was released Tuesday, and the Twins have a players listed at each position.
Marwin Gonzalez is the Twins representative at third base instead of Miguel Sano, who was injured for the first several weeks of 2019.
On the ballot are Gonzalez, first baseman C.J. Cron, second baseman Jonathan Schoop, shortstop Jorge Polanco, catcher Jason Castro, and outfielders Eddie Rosario, Kepler and Byron Buxton.
Here’s how the Twins will line up against Milwaukee righthanded starter Zach Davies (5-0, 2.43):