Minnesota Twins: The 11-Man Pitching Staff

AlexAnalyst IFebruary 24, 2009

When the Minnesota Twins signed Joe Crede over the weekend, manager Ron Gardenhire brought out the idea of going with an 11-man pitching staff.

The move would make sense, as it'd be the only way to allow the team to carry both Brian Buscher and Brendan Harris on the roster. And tomorrow, reliever Boof Bonser will undergo surgery for an unknown issue.

Bonser has experienced pain in his throwing shoulder since the end of last season, and just now will have "experimental" surgery to search for a problem.

Twins' team doctors and doctors for the Tampa Bay Rays have seen nothing from tests, but cortisone shots and rehab haven't done the trick. The team has just this one option remaining.

Whether anything is found or not, Bonser is sure to miss several weeks. With those weeks, Bonser will also likely miss out on the Opening Day roster, and will now, more than likely, find himself on the disabled list or in extended spring training.

While the 11-man staff would have likely spelled doom for one of the many pitchers competing for a spot in the 'pen, the injury to Bonser now makes some of the possibilities more realistic for those on the outside looking in.

Aside from the starters—Scott Baker, Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins and Nick Blackburn—the Twins have six other roster spots for pitchers. Joe Nathan, Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier and Craig Breslow are likely locks.

The five-man rotation, plus the four likely locks in the bullpen, leaves two spots up for grabs.

Those spots will likely go to two in a whole batch of pitchers. Luis Ayala has the best chance right now if he doesn't blow his spring with terrible outings. Other than that, Phillip Humber and Jose Mijares, along with guys like R.A Dickey and Jason Jones, could be fighting for one final spot.

The Bonser situation is, by no means, an easy one, but it does make the bullpen competition just a little easier than before.