When pitcher Tyler Duffey strolled through the Twins clubhouse Friday, catcher Mitch Garver shouted, "Nice haircut."
Duffey, who got his sides shaved but left a little on top replied, "Thanks. Got to look the part."
That's what Duffey is hoping to accomplish now that he's back with the Twins for the second time this season. Duffey made his second appearance Saturday since rejoining the Twins from Class AAA Rochester after a trying start to his 2018 season.
He allowed seven earned runs in his first two outings and although he only gave up one run in his third appearance — a three-inning stint against the Reds on April 29 — the Twins sent Duffey down as they looked for fresh arms in the bullpen.
Duffey tried to take the reassignment in stride.
"When there's not room, there's not room," Duffey said. "All you can do at the end of that is go out and pitch and just keep throwing a lot. Once you lose that, that's when you get in trouble. I think I maintained it pretty well, stay focused and did what I was supposed to do."
Duffey was back to form Thursday in his first appearance since rejoining the Twins when he threw two innings without surrendering a hit. Saturday was a little shakier. He allowed two hits and required nice plays from first baseman Logan Morrison and center fielder Ryan LaMarre to get out of the ninth.
Duffey said he tried to mix in more four-seam fastballs into his repertoire while in Rochester.
"That's kind of the way things are going. Guys are trying to hit homers so you're trying to get it above their bats and get some strikes with that," Duffey said. "It helps the curveball play better, helps my sinker play better. It's not necessarily major tweaks, it's just usage of pitches."
One thing that's notable from Duffey's first few appearances in 2018 is his changeup velocity. Duffey's changeup is averaging of 87.8 miles per hour, according to Statcast. That's up from 83.9 a season ago. That was a purposeful adjustment Duffey made in spring training in consultation with pitching coach Garvin Alston.
"In the past I was told to take some off it, slow it down," Duffey said. "But as long as your arm speed is right, the changeup is a changeup. … It's one of those things that as long as it's moving and it's not in the middle of the plate, it's going to have the same effect."
Added Alston: "Sometimes you want a harder changeup and sometimes you want a softer changeup. He can actually do both, which is good."
Keeping Bert at bay
Outfielder LaMarre had 90 plate appearances in the majors before Friday's game, but he had yet to secure an extra-base hit until Friday, when he doubled in a run in the fourth inning.
If nothing else, LaMarre said the double would keep broadcaster Bert Blyleven at bay.
"Bert has been busting my chops for about a week and a half now," LaMarre said. "To get him off my back was nice. I felt like I hit some balls kind of hard in the past, but it was nice to finally end up on second base."
Good day for Mauer
Manager Paul Molitor said Friday was a good day for first baseman Joe Mauer as Mauer took batting and fielding practice and was able to make it through the Twins' victory that night. Mauer has had issues with light sensitivity as he recovers from a concussion.
Because of rain, Molitor said Mauer was scheduled to hit in the cages before Saturday's game and would likely take batting practice again Sunday.