PORT CHARLOTTE, FLA. – Righthanders Tyler Duffey and Chase De Jong were cut from camp Saturday. Duffey was optioned to Class AAA Rochester and De Jong was reassigned to the minor league camp.
Both were long shots to make the team, but they didn’t help their cause. Duffey posted a 7.04 ERA in seven appearances while De Jong had a 10.45 ERA in five outings.
Duffey, 28, has appeared in 111 major league games, including 37 starts, but has been unable to stick in the majors since being a fifth-round pick in 2012. He has a decent fastball and very good curve, but can’t consistently make pitches to get hitters out.
“He’s taken to some different ideas and approaches that we think are really going to help him become the pitcher that he’s going to be,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “He has the stuff that plays at the major league level. He has the type of stuff that allows him to come into games and get swings and misses.”
The Twins are down to 44 players in camp, including 21 pitchers, with roughly a week and a half remaining.
Twins rained out
The Twins made the 50-minute bus ride to Port Charlotte on Saturday to face the Rays. But then Mother Nature interfered.
Rain started to fall moments after the national anthem was completed and, after a brief wait, the decision was made to cancel the game. The forecast called for afternoon showers, and no one wanted to see their key players play a fake game on a wet field. So the Twins boarded their bus, returned to Fort Myers and called it a day.
Everyone that is, except starting pitcher Kyle Gibson, who stayed behind to throw indoors. He has made just two starts this spring because he got a late start following a bout with E. coli in January. So it was important for him to remain on schedule.
“He’s going to get as much of a work as we can get right now under the circumstances,” Baldelli said.
Baldelli said he still has not determined how many pitchers he’s bringing north.
“And really it’s hard to even go on about that conversation yet because that has a lot to do with also the position player side of the discussion as well,” he said.
The Twins have five off days before April 12, so they won’t need a fifth starter until mid-April.
“Our schedule is actually built for three or 3½ starters the way we can look at it like that,” Baldelli said, “but we want all five of our guys that are going to be starting for us to participate and be available for all of the games early in the season even though the schedule doesn’t necessarily cooperate.”
The Twins will make their only appearance in Dunedin this exhibition season when they play the Blue Jays. Righthander Preston Guilmet will start for the Twins. Adalberto Mejia, Fernando Romero, Ryan Eades, Mike Morin and Ryne Harper are also on the list to pitch. Prospect Alex Kirilloff will be brought over from the minor league camp and will be in the lineup.
La Velle E. Neal III