Jepsen to take over 9th; Minnesota calls up No. 13 prospect Rogers
By Brian Hall
Special to MLB.com |
MINNEAPOLIS -- The start to the Twins' season hit another bump in the road Wednesday, when closer Glen Perkins was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left shoulder strain. Minnesota called up lefty reliever Taylor Rogers from Triple-A Rochester to replace him on the roster.
Perkins, an All-Star each of the previous three seasons, made two appearances this season, tossing a scoreless inning in his debut against the Royals on Saturday before blowing his first save opportunity of the season Sunday, when he gave up two runs on three hits.
"I actually told [bullpen coach Eddie Guardado] that day that I felt like the ball was coming out good," Perkins said Wednesday before the Twins hosted the Chicago White Sox. "In the 'pen, it was. And then as I was pitching, the command wasn't there and the life wasn't there. I resorted to throwing sliders, basically just because I wasn't comfortable throwing a fastball, and that's no way to compete.
"It's frustrating, the whole thing. But hopefully it's something we'll get taken care of and I didn't wait too long on it to where it got any worse."
Perkins' velocity was down, as his fastball averaged 91.3 mph, after averaging 93.7 mph last year. His slider also averaged 80.5 mph, after averaging 82.3 mph in 2015.
Perkins said he won't throw for at least a week and he envisions he is likely out longer than 15 days.
"When I come back, it's not going to be an issue again," Perkins said. "That's kind of my hope. Off the top of my head, you take a week off of throwing, which I think is the minimum of what I'm going to do right now, you're not coming back in another week. So, 15 days is a little quick. Could it be 18? Yeah. Who knows? I won't be coming off that first day off, I know that. I don't think that's feasible."
Minnesota manager Paul Molitor said right-hander Kevin Jepsen will take over closing duties for Perkins. It's nothing new for Jepsen, who did the same last year with the Twins, earning 10 second-half saves.
"It's not like we're thrusting him into something he hasn't gone through before," Molitor said. "He stepped up for us last year down the stretch, and he's more than capable. We're going to have to bump some people down later in the game, and those moves will include trying to get Kevin in there to save some games for us."
It's the first callup for Rogers, who was a starter throughout the Minors before being moved to relief this spring. He is ranked as the club's No. 13 prospect by MLBPipeline.com.
Rogers, 25, has a career 3.27 ERA with 407 strikeouts and 135 walks in 525 innings. He threw two scoreless innings with Rochester so far this season.
"Taylor was appealing for the fact that I do trust him getting lefties out, but I also know that I can get him extended for a couple of innings if I need to," Molitor said. "We haven't had a lot of overly long outings from our starters yet, and we're starting a run tonight, I think, of about 15 games consecutively. So, I could see him doing a couple different things depending on the day and how the game unfolds."
Perkins owners should be concerned about the closer's trip to the disabled list. The southpaw posted a 7.32 ERA in the second half of last season and has allowed two runs in his first two 2016 outings. Without an exact timetable for his return, an extended absence should be viewed as a realistic possibility. The 33-year-old can be held onto for now, but he would become waiver-wire fodder in standard formats if a multiple-month absence were prescribed. Jepsen -- who owns a 2.62 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and a 9.0 K/9 rate since the outset of '14 -- should now assume Minnesota's ninth-inning duties and deserves a spot on all fantasy rosters. And given Perkins' recent woes, Jepsen could even become the Twins' permanent closer with a strong performance over the next couple of weeks.
Brian Hall is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.