Lefty Dean tabbed for first Major League start Saturday vs. Blue Jays
By Chris Vannini
Special to MLB.com |
DETROIT -- After allowing seven earned runs and not getting out of the first inning in Monday's 10-8 loss, the Twins optioned starter Jose Berrios to Triple-A Rochester and recalled lefty reliever Taylor Rogers. The club also announced left-hander Pat Dean will make a spot start on Saturday against the Blue Jays.
The 21-year-old Berrios is the Twins' No. 1 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com, but had a 10.20 ERA through four starts this season. He struck out 20 batters in 15 innings, but also issued 12 walks, including four in Monday's short outing.
"He's fighting it," manager Paul Molitor said. "We look for encouraging signs in those four starts. They all started slowly. If you watch percentage of strikes, the command and where he's missing, there's got to be some adjustments. For him to do that here would be very challenging."
Berrios was selected by the Twins in the first round of the 2012 Draft. He's still very young, but despite the Twins' 10-27 start to the season, Molitor can't wait around and see if Berrios figures things out at the Major League level.
Berrios had posted a 1.06 ERA in three Triple-A starts this year, so the hope is he can return to that form and regain confidence.
"I'm not going to let that kid keep going out there until he has a better idea of what he's doing with the baseball," Molitor said. "I just haven't seen it enough to think he's going to figure it out up here."
Rogers made one previous appearance this season with the Twins, allowing one hit in two-thirds of an inning on April 14. He spent a week with the big league club before being sent back down.
Rogers, 25, made two starts for Rochester, but those were spot starts meant to stretch him out, and he'll be in the bullpen for the Twins. Rogers uses three pitches, a fastball, changeup and curve, and Molitor said they're working on improving the changeup.
"Organizationally, we like Taylor a lot," Molitor said. "He's still kind of learning. Sometimes you feel like you're rushing a guy out of necessity, but he's not afraid. He's got good mound presence; a fearless approach. The one pitch we're trying to improve against righties and lefties is that changeup. He's been working on getting a better feel for that. As far as being able to pitch in on righties, enough velocity to keep guys honest with his breaking ball. We can get some length out of him, a guy who can give two or three innings."
Dean will make his first Major League start on Saturday against the Blue Jays. He threw 91 pitches in 5 1/3 innings of relief of Berrios on Monday night. The 26-year-old Dean allowed three hits to start things, but settled down and kept the Tigers' bats at bay as the Twins rallied from an 8-0 deficit to tie the game. Past Saturday, Molitor doesn't know who will fill the spot in the rotation, but Dean will get his shot.
"It was impressive," Molitor said of Dean's performance on Monday. "It didn't start out particularly well, but he found his rhythm. A lineup like that, it'd be easy to lose aggressiveness, but he didn't walk anybody, used both sides of the plate. Given where we're at, it makes the most sense for him to get an opportunity to start."
• Entering Tuesday, Kurt Suzuki was three hits shy of 1,000 for his career following a two-hit performance on Monday.
• Starter Kyle Gibson (strained right shoulder) will go on a rehab assignment if there are no issues throwing to batters on Thursday. He threw a 45-pitch bullpen with no issues on Monday. "At least one [game], probably more," Molitor said of Gibson's rehab assignment. "If everything goes well Thursday, he'll probably get sent out to start doing that."
Chris Vannini is a contributor to MLB.com based in Detroit. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.