CHICAGO – The coaching staff has already discussed an addition to Trevor May’s pregame routine before Monday’s start in the Twins’ home opener, manager Paul Molitor said. It involves a tape measure.
“We’re going to go out and show him that it’s still 60 feet, 6 inches to home plate, and the bases are still 90 feet [apart],” Molitor joked Friday, when the Twins revealed May will be recalled from Class AAA Rochester with fellow righthander Ricky Nolasco going on the 15-day disabled list — and that May will start Monday’s home opener against Kansas City.
Added Molitor: “You know a kid’s going to be emotional, getting a chance to perform on that stage, on Opening Day at home. But emotion can be an asset if you know how to use it.”
May memorably didn’t last Aug. 9, growing so nervous before his major league debut, he walked seven of the 15 batters he faced at Oakland. But Molitor believes it’s a different May this year.
“That’s what experience is about. He brought a new approach to spring training,” Molitor said. “In addition to pitching well, one of the things I was pleased about was that he had better presence on the mound. He handled things. … It’ll be a challenge for him to harness that in the right direction.”
The Twins discussed moving Phil Hughes to Monday and letting May pitch this weekend but quickly decided against it, General Manager Terry Ryan said. “It’s important that you keep your guys on the right [intervals],” he said. “You don’t want to mess around too much with rotation.”
Short stay on DL?
Nolasco’s elbow exam revealed no structural damage, the Twins said, but he will go on the DL as a precaution. He reported a “spike” in his elbow near the end of his start Wednesday at Detroit, and was sent back to the Twin Cities to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging scan on his right arm.
“The MRI came back clean, which was really good news,” Molitor said. “It’s been determined there is a little inflammation in that elbow, so we’re going to have to back him off a little bit to make sure he gets back to 100 percent.”
The Twins are optimistic Nolasco will return as soon as his DL stint is up April 24, Molitor said.
Out at home, out of game
The Twins’ first victory of 2015 came with a rare finish — a double play that ended with a runner tagged out at the plate.
“Kind of a strange ending,” Molitor said after shortstop Eduardo Escobar caught a looping fly ball in short left field, then whirled and threw home, just in time to get Adam Eaton trying to score, capping a 6-0 victory over the White Sox. “Nice recovery, nice throw, and Zuke [catcher Kurt Suzuki] made a good tag.”
He did, though the White Sox wondered if he held the ball long enough. As Eaton slid home, Suzuki’s glove, with the ball inside it, got caught under Eaton’s arm. Eaton rolled over, and Suzuki’s arm remained stuck, as if Eaton was trying to tear the glove off his hand. The ball finally dropped to the ground, but umpire James Hoye signaled Eaton out anyway.
Chicago manager Robin Ventura complained, but the call stood. Eaton and Suzuki had a couple of words, but finally walked away.
“At first, I didn’t know what was going on. I thought he was trying to rip my glove off,” Suzuki said. “He plays the game hard. He plays the game the right way. I wasn’t trying to stir anything up, it was the heat of the moment. We just got tangled up.”
Escobar a father
With coach Rudy Hernandez in tow to translate, Escobar approached Ryan and Molitor on Friday morning to deliver some news: He’s a father.
“He showed me a picture on his iPhone” of Jose Emanuel Escobar, a son who was born in Minneapolis early Friday, Molitor said. “He was obviously very excited.”
But Escobar and his fiancée, Eucaris Alvarez, wanted him to stay in Chicago for Friday’s game, rather than take a three-day maternity leave. Escobar flew to Minnesota after going 1-for-4 with a double and two runs. He will return Sunday morning.