Eric Rasmussen was working with two Class A Fort Myers pitchers in the bullpen on May 27 when Twins General Manager Terry Ryan, who was in Florida watching prospects, approached him with news that he was needed to join the major league team in Seattle.
Rasmussen’s first thoughts were about what to pack.
“The rest you tackle when you get there,” he said.
Rasmussen, the Twins minor league pitching coordinator since 2009, is the interim pitching coach while Neil Allen remains on indefinite suspension after his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving. Rasmussen was the Fort Myers pitching coach from 1999 to 2008.
“It’s interesting, I’ll tell you that,” said Rasmussen, who pitched eight years in the majors with the Cardinals, Padres and Royals. “It’s challenging. All I have to do is make a good impact and be a good pitching coach.”
He is familiar with the pitchers who have come up through the system, so he is getting to know such veteran pitchers as Ervin Santana, Phil Hughes and Ricky Nolasco to better understand their strengths. Dealing with manager Paul Molitor, he said, has not been that difficult since they have worked together while Molitor was a minor league instructor from 2005 to ’13. Molitor said he’s dealt with Rasmussen the same way he’s dealt with Allen.
Ryan anticipates an adjustment period, but said Rasmussen can be creative with some of his ideas and shouldn’t be afraid to assert himself when he needs to.
“He’s not going to come in here and want to step on toes, but he’s going to have thoughts,” Ryan said. “And he didn’t come here just to be a figurehead. I brought him up here to be the pitching coach.”
Perkins takes mound
Molitor had the television in his office turned to the channel with the bullpen camera on Saturday so he could watch Glen Perkins climb on a mound for the first time since early April.
“It’s a good sight,” Molitor said of Perkins, the three-time All-Star closer who has been on the disabled list since April 13 because of a left shoulder strain.
Perkins threw 21 pitches Saturday and said everything went well. He is expected to throw bullpen sessions Tuesday and Friday, and Molitor said Perkins might face a few hitters during his final session. After Friday’s session, the club will determine if Perkins will need to throw again at Target Field or head out on a rehabilitation assignment.
His recovery has taken longer than everyone anticipated, and it included a setback about two weeks ago when Perkins felt discomfort while playing catch. He said he’s over that hump now and looks forward to moving to the next phase of his recovery.
“It’s going to be how fast I build up arm strength,” Perkins said. “I would say how I felt [Saturday], I’m confident that Friday would be the last one.”
Perkins said it’s reasonable to expect him to return to action before the end this month.
“ If I’m not pitching in June, I can’t foresee I’d be pitching the rest of the season, if I can’t get through rehab,” he said. “[But] I don’t see that happening.”
More woes for Meyer
Righthander Alex Meyer, who hasn’t pitched since May 3 at Houston, is seeking a second opinion on his shoulder.
Meyer has been placed on the disabled list at Class AAA Rochester. “He’s got inflammation in his shoulder,” Ryan said. “So that’s where we are at.”
A recent magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed inflammation but no structural damage, and Meyer was given a cortisone shot. But the discomfort persists.