DETROIT – Twins manager Rocco Baldelli first used the phrase Sunday and repeated it Monday.
“We have a well-stocked bullpen,” he said.
He probably loves the way the words roll off his tongue, since he hasn’t had so many relievers at his disposal until now. With rosters expanded up to 40 in September, the Twins now feature a 12-man bullpen. Baldelli has an arm for any occasion.
And he will reach into his overstuffed toolbox Tuesday in Boston when he sends righthander Randy Dobnak to start against the Red Sox. The move enables the Twins to give all their starters an extra day of rest, with Jose Berrios pushed back a day to Wednesday. That could come in handy since Berrios posted a 7.57 ERA in August and his fastball velocity has been down.
It might not be the only time Baldelli gives his starters an extra day off. Some of it will depend on if Kyle Gibson can recover quickly from ulcerative colitis that landed him on the injured list Sunday.
“I think at this time of the year, I think it would help any of our starters any time you can get any of our guys an extra day, two days, three days, as much as you can give them,” Baldelli said. “I know some guys say they want to be in their routine and they want to stay on regular rest and maybe get one extra day, but anything more than that is a lot. Truthfully, they might be right. Some of them might be right, but I think a lot of the time, if we can give our guys more time, we’ve been at this a while. I think it helps.”
Having so many relievers enables Baldelli to manage the workload of the ones he needs in the late innings. There will be key games in which he will rely on his main relievers to protect leads, but he could reduce the number of times he uses them on back-to-back days. For instance, he used righthander Zack Littell, who was just recalled Sunday, in the seventh inning against the Tigers on Monday. Littell ended up getting the victory.
“I can see us continuing on the way we have been doing things,” Baldelli said. “Whatever the usage has been it can be fairly simpler going forward.”
Dobnak’s first start
Dobnak was surprised to learn that he is starting Tuesday. But that’s how he caught the Twins’ eye this season, one in which he began at Class A Fort Myers, was promoted to Class AA Pensacola and then to Class AAA Rochester, where he was 5-2 with a 2.15 ERA in nine games.
Dobnak, who was informed after Monday’s game that he was starting, hoped that his family could make it to Beantown in time to watch him pitch.
As for making his first major league start at Fenway Park, he looked forward to pitching in one of baseball’s shrines.
“I’ll probably take the first bus over [Tuesday] to check it out,” he said.
The Twins will announce Tuesday that righthander Trevor Hildenberger will be recalled. He began the season as one of the Twins’ key relievers, posting 11 consecutive scoreless outings to start, but his next eight — where he gave up 13 runs and 17 hits in 8⅓ innings — got him sent down to Rochester.
There, he soon landed on the injured list because of a flexor mass strain. He has thrown seven shutout innings since being activated from the IL, giving up one hit and one walk while striking out four.
• Twins catcher Mitch Garver left Monday’s game in the fourth inning when a foul tip off the knob of Harold Castro’s bat caught him in the facemask. He had precautionary X-rays of his jaw. The Twins ended up using all three of their catchers, with Willians Astudillo replacing Garver, and Jason Castro catching the final two innings after Astudillo was pulled for a pinch hitter.
• The Tigers announced during Monday’s game that Class AA Erie catcher Chace Numata died at age 27. A native of Hawaii, Numata was injured in a skateboarding accident Friday.