MINNEAPOLIS -- With a save on the line in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 3-0 victory over the White Sox, Twins manager Paul Molitor turned to Kevin Jepsen to lock down the win. Jepsen worked a 1-2-3 inning. That was the good news for Minnesota. The bad? All-Star closer Glen Perkins was unavailable, once again dealing with back spasms.
Perkins picked up his first save since Aug. 16 on Tuesday. Molitor has used Perkins conservatively lately, at one point last week bringing him in for a non-save situation to ease him back into action.
But after throwing 19 pitches in an inning's work Tuesday, the back problems have returned. Molitor said Perkins came in Wednesday and felt sore. When he went to play catch, his back started to spasm again, prompting them to seek an MRI.
"There's no bulging disc, no serious issue that we have to look at other than the fact that we've got to keep this thing from continuing to flare up," Molitor said. "I think right now there's a good chance he might stay back and spend some time here with our guys. [We'll] try to get him back and see if we can get him out on the trip at some point."
The Twins will embark on a three-city road trip with a series in Houston starting Friday. They won't return until thr 14th. While Perkins has been out, Jepsen has slid into his role. Wednesday, Jepsen picked up his fifth save with the Twins since joining the team at the Trade Deadline.
Jepsen and Trevor May, who pitched a scoreless eighth on Wednesday, have provided a solid backbone late in games for the Twins while they await Perkins' return.
"It's been a good run. They're all kind of settled in. We're trying to use them when it's right, and at the same time being mindful of how much work they're getting," Molitor said. "They both look fresh. May had a really clean eighth tonight. Jepsen's been outstanding for us."
Betsy Helfand is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.