Scott Baker in, Boof Bonser out of Twins Rotation

Dan CareyContributor IJune 3, 2008

We all knew this was going to happen. When Scott Baker returned from the 15-day disabled list, there was going to be a pitcher who would be the odd duck and wind up throwing in the bullpen. Would it be Kevin Slowey or Glen Perkins? Nope.

After Scott Baker went on the DL and Perkins was called up, there was immediately a battle between Slowey, Perkins, and Boof Bonser to see who would lose their job when Baker returned. This was a chance for each pitcher to show Twins' Manager Ron Gardenhire who deserved to be in the rotation. Slowey and Perkins did their part to make a statement to the Twins' manager while Bonser showed Gardenhire how to squander a golden opportunity. The result? Bonser was demoted to the bullpen.

Bonser, who the Twins were relying on this season, posted a 2-6 record with an astronomical 5.97 ERA. Not quite the stats that will allow you to keep your job for very long.

What's next for Boof and the Twins? Bonser will be coming out of the bullpen in many situations. Manager Ron Gardenhire is confident Boof can succeed no matter where he pitches out of the pen. As for the coming roster move, the Twins will hold onto 13 pitchers for the immediate future and likely send infielder Matt Macri down to AAA. A seemingly smart move as the Twins' bullpen has been over utilized the past five games. Another arm will only help.

As for Baker, he flew in from Fort Myers after his rehab stint and joined the club yesterday. Baker, who has two wins in six starts this season, is coming off of a groin injury sustained in early May. Baker will pitch for the Twins Thursday against the Baltimore Orioles.

Tonight's game which will start of the three game series against Baltimore will feature Kevin Slowey against O's pitcher Radhames Liz who is making his season debut and just his fifth career start. In those five starts, Liz is 0-2 with a 6.93 ERA. The Twins bats need to come alive early and often against the 6'2, 185 pound 24 year old righty.

Keys to the game:

After a terrific Yankees series, the Twins outfield, led by Michael Cuddyer, needs to continue their terrific hitting this series after hitting a combined .357 in a four game tilt against the Yankees.

Pitcher Kevin Slowey also needs to continue his performance on the mound after going 2-0 with a complete game and just one earned run in 15 innings. The Twins' lineup will hopefully get Slowey some runs early against a pitcher who has yet to throw in the majors this season.

Game details:

Baltimore Orioles (27-29, 5th in AL East) at Minnesota Twins (30-27, 2nd in AL Central), H.H.H. Metrodome, Minneapolis, MN, 7:10, Fox Sports North

Probable pitchers:

RHP Radhames Liz (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. RHP Kevin Slowey (2-4, 3.38 ERA)

Projected Twins lineup:

1. Carlos Gomez-CF
2. Alexi Casilla-2B
3. Joe Mauer-C
4. Justin Morneau-1B
5. Michael Cuddyer-RF
6. Jason Kubel-DH
7. Delmon Young-LF
8. Mike Lamb-3B
9. Brendan Harris-SS