KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Telling Alex Meyer he was headed back to Class AAA Rochester wasn’t the only tough news Twins manager Paul Molitor delivered Friday. He also had a new destination for Trevor May: the bullpen.
May, 4-7 with a 4.37 ERA as a starter, will serve as a reliever at least until the All-Star break, Molitor said, to make room for Ervin Santana. The move probably isn’t permanent, Molitor said, but it made the most sense to him in the short term.
“We’ll have to decide eventually long-term, if we want to see how that works out,” Molitor said, “or if getting into a rotation down below [at Class AAA Rochester] would be helpful in terms of keeping him ready to help us if something happens to one of our guys. We’ll decide that somewhere along the way.”
May took the news “great,” Molitor said, but he was clearly disappointed. On the other hand, he said, he is glad he gets to stay in the major leagues.
“I’ve got to be thankful for that, and that they have the faith that I can go down to the pen and contribute,” the 26-year-old, second-year righthander said. “My stuff has played pretty well, and I think it can be effective in the pen, too, in any situation.”
May’s first four starts in June were eye-opening, with him allowing only five runs and getting 24 strikeouts in 24 innings. That’s a 1.88 ERA, though the Twins somehow went 1-3 in those starts. He also leads the team in strikeouts and is third in strikeout/walk ratio. But when it was suggested that Molitor wouldn’t have made this decision two weeks ago, May disagreed.
“Honestly, I don’t know how much [recent] results had to do with it,” he said. “You can’t really make a case that any of us shouldn’t be [in the rotation]. We’ve all been pretty good in general; that’s how I feel.”
But he knew this was coming, with Santana scheduled to pitch Sunday. Now he will focus on altering his normal pitching pattern. “It’ll be a little different getting warmed up, monitoring my throwing on a day-to-day basis, because I had a pretty extensive routine,” May said. “It’ll be a matter of doing the same amount of work, just spreading it out differently. But I have the arm durability to do it.”
Pressly ‘didn’t feel right’
Ryan Pressly threw a fastball Saturday and felt something that, even an hour later, he still couldn’t quite describe.
“I knew I overextended, and it didn’t feel right. I can’t really explain it, but it was something that didn’t feel normal,” said Pressly, who was immediately removed from the Twins’ 5-3 victory over the Royals in the seventh inning. “It wasn’t really a pop, it was like a recoil on my arm.”
The righthander will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test Sunday. Molitor said the Twins will wait until the MRI to decide whether Pressly, 26, will go on the disabled list.
“He was real concerned when I went out there. He said he felt something really unnatural. It makes you think about the [rotator] cuff or something like that,” Molitor said. “As far as his tests, it looks more like it’s going to be a high lat strain. His shoulder tested fine.”
The bullpen has been heavily used on this road trip, with four pitchers going on back-to-back nights Saturday. Molitor said he would consult with General Manager Terry Ryan about what to do. If Pressly is put on the DL, Meyer could return. So could Michael Tonkin, though he pitched three innings Friday for the Red Wings. Class AAA All-Star A.J. Achter is also on the Twins’ 40-man roster.
The Twins will hold a viewing party at Target Field Station on Sunday to watch the finale of the Twins-Royals series, followed by the championship game of the Women’s World Cup between the U.S. and Japan. Large screens will be provided, and concessions will be available.