So, if you haven’t been paying attention to the Minnesota Twins over the past handful of days, I, frankly, envy you. It has been a rough patch, to say the least, for the Minnesota boys of summer.
The highlight of the weekend was probably the team’s beat writers geeking out about the presence of Ham and Squints from the 1993 baseball classic The Sandlot. The two were in town for the Twins Sandlot weekend in honor of the 20th anniversary of the film.
The film was supposed to be shown after the game on Sunday afternoon. Instead, it was shown on the Target Field big screen during the three hour rain delay—which resulted in a 5-1 loss to the Red Sox and the end of Joe Mauer’s hitting streak.
Yup. That’s how great the Twins have been over this past spell.
Well, that and the seven game losing streak they are currently on.
Here are a couple stories that have been dominating Twins talk over the past couple of days:
Call-up of Caleb Thielbar and the Demotion of Pedro Hernandez
Pedro Hernandez had the joy of facing the Boston Red Sox on Sunday and it didn’t exactly go well for the leftie. Hernandez needed over 100 pitches just to get into the fifth inning of the ballgame, which was both not effective and even more taxing on a currently over-worked bullpen.
The call then came Monday that the Twins were sending Hernandez back to Triple-A Rochester and recalling left-handed relief pitcher Caleb Thielbar from the Red Wings.
Why should we care about Thielbar? And, why does that name sound slightly familiar?
Thielbar is a native Minnesotan, attended Randolph High School and he went to South Dakota State.
The main reason his name might ring a bell is that he pitched for the St. Paul Saints in 2011, before being signed by the big league team across the river. Thielbar is the first-ever former Saint to play for the Minnesota Twins.
Thielbar had appeared in 17 games for Rochester this season with a 3.76 ERA before his promotion on Monday. Not only was he promoted to the big leagues on Monday, but it ended up being Thielbar’s major league debut.
It was a near-perfect debut. The first pitch Thielbar tossed in the major leagues was hit for a single by Atlanta Braves leadoff hitter Andrelton Simmons. After that, nothing went wrong for the 29th native Minnesotan to play for the Twins.
The 26-year-old retired six straight—pitching two scoreless innings, allowing only one hit and recording three strikeouts in his major league debut.
Not a bad night at all for a former independent league hurler.
Thielbar’s performance wasn’t the big talker out of this roster move though.
Who’s going to start Friday?
The demotion of Hernandez meant the spot in the rotation for Friday night against the Detroit Tigers was open. Suddenly, the heavens opened and everybody knew that it was time for Kyle Gibson…or at least we thought.
The signs pointing to the major league debut of Gibson were all right there.
Gibson’s spot in the rotation was up on Friday and his last start for Rochester just happened to be a complete-game, three-hit shutout.
Twins fans were all excited to get a glimpse of the future that is supposed to be so bright, but that excitement died away on Tuesday afternoon when manager Ron Gardenhire announced that ‘Smiling’ Sam Deduno would get the start on Friday night.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said WBC hero RHP Samuel Deduno will start Friday for the @twins in Detroit.— Dustin Morse (@Twins_morsecode) May 21, 2013
Twins fans will have to wait for a little bit longer for that glimpse of the future.
Hopefully, someone will still be watching the Twins as they have slipped to four games under .500.
Darin Mastroianni Ankle Surgery
Everybody’s favorite fourth, probably fifth now, outfielder is going to need ankle surgery to repair a bone chip in his left ankle.
Darin Mastroianni has only appeared in eight games for the Twins in 2013, and has been on the disabled list since April 16.
Mastroianni may be placed on the 60-day disabled list in order to open up a 40-man roster spot.
Rich Harden Progress
I’ve been flying the Rich Harden flag ever since the Twins signed him and, even though I may want to hide behind that flag sometimes, it is important to stay informed on his progress.
This tweet basically says it all though:
#MNTwins asst GM Rob Antony on how Rich Harden's rehab is going: "Slow. Not very well to be honest with you."— Rhett Bollinger (@RhettBollinger) May 18, 2013
Trevor Plouffe Hurt
In Tuesday’s extra-inning contest against the Atlanta Braves, which also featured a rain delay, third baseman Trevor Plouffe was hurt sliding into second base in the 10th inning.
Plouffe received a knee to the head and was immediately taken out of the game. Plouffe was seen shielding his eyes from light as he headed towards the clubhouse.
No official word has been passed down yet, but it was reminiscent of Justin Morneau’s concussion in Toronto a couple years ago. Plouffe shielding his eyes from light is also not a good sign.