Tommy Milone has been spectacular at Class AAA Rochester, he has done everything the Twins asked when they sent him down, and he has absolutely earned a call-up, the Twins’ decision-makers said Monday. And that call-up will happen … ?
“Eventually,” General Manager Terry Ryan said.
Yes, Milone may be collecting Triple-A scoreless innings like pocket change, but he also has the misfortune of doing so during the Twins’ longest extended stretch of starting-pitching effectiveness in years. The Twins’ five starters have gone 13-4 in May, own a collective 3.58 ERA this month and have pitched more than five innings in six consecutive games.
In other words, the logjam that forced the Twins to send the lefthander down in the first place hasn’t gone away, and with the end of Ervin Santana’s suspension now less than six weeks away, the situation only figures to get worse. But the Twins are trying to make sure that Milone understands the situation.
“He’s been communicated with about the fact that we know what he’s doing, we’re paying attention, but we’re in a little bit of a holding pattern up here because the guys are holding their own,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “So I think he understands that for the short term.”
The numbers are hard to miss, though. Milone pitched 31⅔ innings before giving up his first run with the Red Wings, giving him an ERA of 0.28, and he has struck out 41 batters while walking only two. “We asked him to go down there and be aggressive, and he’s been doing that,” Molitor said.
Ryan said he’s certain an opportunity will open soon for Milone. “It’s inevitable, we know that,” he said. “Whether it’s in a week, or two weeks, I suspect it’ll come about. It never fails.”
He guessed right
Trevor Plouffe smashed his seventh home run of the season in the second inning, a three-run shot into the left field seats that capped the Twins’ six-run inning. It was a good guess on his part, Plouffe said.
As the count reached 3-2, “I battled two fastballs on the outside corner [and fouled them off]. I kind of had a feeling something else might be coming,” Plouffe said.
He was right: Red Sox starter Joe Kelly tried a slider. “He kind of guided that one up there and I was able to stay back on it,” Plouffe said.
• Aaron Hicks made a diving catch, Eddie Rosario made a running catch and Torii Hunter nearly matched them Monday. Hunter chased a foul ball to foul territory in right field, and reached as far as he could into the stands. The ball ticked off his glove, he said. “I felt something hit my glove. I don’t know if [a fan] tipped it,” Hunter said. “I didn’t hurt myself, but I was mad I didn’t catch it.”
• Alex Meyer made his relief debut for Rochester on Monday, retiring all three Durham hitters he faced, two of them via strikeout. The move to the bullpen is only temporary, Ryan reiterated. “He’s got probably the best stuff we have in the organization, as a starter. Maybe this will be a good situation for him,” the general manager said. “We want to get him straightened out and back in the rotation.”
• Outfielder Jordan Schafer, who hasn’t played since May 10 because of a sprained right knee, said the injury still bothers him two weeks later. There is no timetable for his return to action.
• David Ortiz went 0-for-4 Monday, a rarity for him in Target Field. The Red Sox slugger and former Twin had collected at least one hit in 13 of the 14 games he has played here.