The Twins face the Royals tonight (7:10 p.m., FSN) at Target Field. Kyle Gibson (6-3, 4.14 ERA) pitches for the Twins against righty Brad Keller (3-8, 4.29).
It's the start of a three-game set with Kansas City on Joe Mauer jersey retirement weekend.
Twins DH Nelson Cruz gets the night off, with Jorge Polanco moving to DH and Ehire Adrianza playing short.
UPDATES: Twins lefthander Taylor Rogers is good to go tonight. Rogers, slowed by a sore back, has been unavailable the last several games but got loose in the bullpen during Thursday's game and is fine, He was good to go. He will be available for anything we need today.," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.
The lines are long tonight, as the first of three sellouts this weekend take place. It's Prince Night, and music from the legendary Purpleness is pumping throughout Target Field. Twins alumni are here as well, as Joe Mauer's jersey retirement is set for Saturday.
: "It's gonna be a great weekend," Baldelli said. "I know there are a lot of people that have been waiting for this weekend. Just the chance to see joe and to celebrate and all of that. I think it is going to be special. I also think that you don't really see these things very often. We're in the game where we spent a lot of days here, many years for a lot of people. You think about the number of times where you see someone's number get retired. You kinda feel honored just to be there and witness it."
The Twins recalled Zack Littell, who made two appearances in May and gave up eight runs in 6.1 inninThe morning after a dreadful outing for the Twins, reliever Fernando Romero was sent back to Class AAA Rochester. He has pitched in 12 games for the Red Wings and has a 3.91 ERA with 58 strikeouts in 50.2 innings.
Romero faced four batters in Thursday's 10-5 victory over Seattle; two got hits and two walked, and he had a wild pitch as he was pitching with a nine-run lead.
“I think he’s just looking for his release point,” manager Rocco Baldelli said after the game.“He’s throwing strikes at a good rate at the Triple-A level. And he’s done it. He’s done it at several different levels throughout the course of his career, and I think he’s looking to find it out there on the mound.
“I think he’ll find it, but I think that’s probably what he’s done. He’s just finding that release point.”
One of the Twins’ top pitching prospects, Romero was called up in place of righthander Ryan Eades, who was sent back to Rochester after pitching 1⅔ scoreless innings in a 10-inning loss Wednesday. Romero had only earned his first save at any level Tuesday, but the 24-year-old Dominican’s transition from being a starter to a reliever is going rougher than everyone imagined.
Romero has the stuff to be effective, with a fastball that can reach 97 miles per hour and a sharp slider. The Twins also believe Romero has the makeup to excel as a closer. He was expected to be part of the Twins bullpen to start the season, but he ended up at Rochester after giving up nine earned runs over 9⅔ innings this spring.
Thursday marked the third time the Twins have called him up this season, but he has had a hard time retiring batters, posting a 7.88 ERA in eight relief outings.
The Twins will be in the market for relief pitching before the July 31 trade deadline. But it would also help if in-house options such as Romero can contribute.
“It does come down to going out there and executing and strike throwing as well,” Baldelli said. “He has great stuff. He has the kind of stuff that moves an incredible amount. To harness it, it’s not always the easiest thing to do, but when he does harness it and he’s locked into that role and he’s comfortable with it, he can be a great weapon. Everyone around here sees that and knows that and I think he knows that.”
Littell started seven games for the Red Wings, but has been used in a relief role after his previous stint with the Twins and has been very effective.