A handful of extras at the end of a long road trip:
— Tyler Duffey’s last start was so good, so encouraging, he couldn’t wait to get back on the mound.
But he had to anyway.
The Twins put off Duffey’s encore for his two-run, eight-strikeout hometown performance last Sunday in Houston until Monday, in hopes of minimizing the stress of a long season’s workload on the rookie’s right arm. Duffey has pitched 170 1/3 innings in 2015, 32 1/3 of them in the majors, and the Twins are leery of increasing his count too much after his 149 innings a year ago.
“It’s kind of precautionary, for my own good, I guess. It’s not really my decision, but I appreciate that they’re looking out for my own interests,” the 24-year-old former fifth-round pick said. “There have been no red flags, it’s just them being smart about not overworking me.”
Actually, Duffey is careful about that, too; when he feels any extra soreness in his arm a day after pitching, he’ll cut back on his between-starts throwing, sometimes even eliminate it. “I knew I was racking up innings quickly this year, which you’re never upset about,” he said. “They keep track of stressful innings, too, when you’re throwing 30 pitches out of the stretch or something. But I’ll pitch whenever they say.”
— Joe Mauer walked and singled on Sunday, reaching base in his 33rd consecutive game. That’s the second-longest such streak of his career, after a 36-game streak in 2009. It’s also the fifth-longest streak of the 2015 season. Matt Holliday of St. Louis had a 45-game streak earlier this season, and Edwin Encarnacion currently has a 42-game streak.
— Mauer will have some company sometime next week. His older brother, Cedar Rapids manager Jake Mauer, will join the Twins once the Class A team’s playoff run is over. Though Jake is four years older than Joe, the Twins’ first baseman will get to feel like the big brother for a change.
“It’ll be fun to see him to get to experience being up here in the big leagues, everything that goes along with that. It’s great,” Mauer said. “It’s the one time I’ll be the one helping him out, right?”