With the Twins bullpen struggling at times in the early going, La Velle E. Neal III offers fans some hope with a minor league report on his Twins Insider blog:

Righthanders Rob Delaney and Anthony Slama shared closing duties at Class A Fort Myers last season -- and it was quite a one-two punch.

Delaney was promoted to Class AA New Britain in June. Slama took over as closer at Fort Myers and finished 4-1 with a 1.01 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 71 innings. He also was named Twins minor league pitcher of the year.

The two have been reunited at New Britain -- but it's Slama who has opened the season as the Rock Cats' closer while Delaney sets him up.

Both are similar pitchers who throw around 90 miles an hour, although Rantz said Slama throws a little harder than Delaney. Both throw good sliders. Delaney is a battler and excellent competitor. Slama is working on changing speeds against left-handed hitters. Both could get promoted to Class AAA Rochester during the season -- which makes a major league debut sometime this year a possibility.

Get more Twins Insider at startribune.com/twins.


Injury-riddled Wild

The RandBall blog looks at a strange pattern with the Wild's injuries:

While there is no medical evidence to suggest it is dangerous to have a last name starting with the letter "B" in conjunction with playing for the Minnesota Wild, the conspiracy saying otherwise is reaching epic proportions.

Niklas Backstrom is now slated to miss up to six months with hip surgery. Derek Boogaard had shoulder surgery. Brent Burns has concussion problems and will also have surgery. Andrew Brunette needed surgery. Pierre-Marc Bouchard has concussion problems. All we're saying is Marc-Andre Bergeron and Eric Belanger might want to wear some protective gear as they walk around this offseason.

Get more RandBall musings at startribune.com/randball.