Too much pitching is never a problem for a manger.
That’s the situation Twins manager Rocco Baldelli is expecting to be looking at relatively soon when Jake Odorizzi is back to full health. Odorizzi is scheduled to make one more appearance in St. Paul before rejoining the Twins, Baldelli said before Tuesday’s doubleheader in St. Louis.
The starter was hit by a comebacker on Aug. 21 in Kansas City, resulting in a chest bruise and making it difficult for Odorizzi to move around. He threw 60 pitches on Saturday in St. Paul and after his next outing, the Twins will set a date for him to rejoin the team.
“You always get in these positions where you go, oh man, are you going to have too many starters? Are you going to have too many guys to get in there? Could that be the case? Yeah,” Baldelli said. “And then we’ll have to get creative when that does get to us.”
When he does, he joins an already-full rotation, with Michael Pineda, Kenta Maeda, Randy Dobnak, Jose Berrios and Rich Hill. Baldelli said Odorizzi, if everything holds right, should be ready to slot in at some point in the middle of the month.
Homer Bailey (biceps) is on the injured list and would be eligible to come off some time in mid-September. That would give the Twins seven starters.
“Most of the time when you think you’re going to have way too many players or way too many pitchers, rarely does it actually play out like that, where you have every single player on your roster 100 percent and ready to go and healthy all at the same time,” Baldelli said. “But it’s definitely a possibility, so we’re going to be prepared for that.”
Jeffers' first HR
When the Twins called Ryan Jeffers up last month, they told the rookie catcher to focus on his defense. But the 23-year-old, who is the organization’s No. 6 prospect per MLB Pipeline, is known for his bat, and he put that bat on display on Monday, hammering his first career home run into the junipers at Target Field. The ball went an estimated 437 feet.
“It’s one of those milestones you dream about,” he said.
There’s been a learning curve for Jeffers since he was called up on Aug. 20, but he has been aided by fellow catchers Mitch Garver and Alex Avila, both of whom are on the injured list. During the first week with the Twins, Jeffers said he was peppering them with questions. But as time has gone on, he has gotten more comfortable in his new role, both with the bat and as a receiver.
“I think for me it was just getting those first ones coming up and then just starting to settle in here, just starting to settle in with the everyday playing time, finding that rhythm day in and day out to take care of the pitchers. Because that’s probably my biggest priority, to handle the pitching staff, and then the offense comes after that and you start to settle down,” Jeffers said.
Designated hitter Nelson Cruz was back in the lineup for the Twins after missing two games with mild hip soreness. He played both games on Tuesday.
Baldelli said Max Kepler (adductor strain) is still on track to return either when his 10 days are up or very shortly after. Kepler was placed on the IL on Sept. 4.
The Twins’ home game on Sunday against Cleveland has been moved up from 3:10 p.m. to 1:10 p.m.