MINNEAPOLIS -- When the Twins activated Danny Santana from the 15-day disabled list on Friday, they could have optioned a reliever to get down to a 12-man pitching staff. But due to the few innings they've been getting from their starters, they instead decided to designate 25-year-old power-hitting outfielder Oswaldo Arcia for assignment.
Their rationale proved prescient against the Yankees, as lefty Pat Dean lasted 2 1/3 innings, forcing five relievers to combine for 6 1/3 innings in an 8-2 loss at Target Field. Dean was optioned to Triple-A Rochester after the game, and the Twins selected the contract of lefty Tommy Milone, who had a 1.66 ERA with 41 strikeouts and four walks in 48 2/3 innings with Rochester. He will take Dean's spot in the rotation.
"It happened fast, and you hate to say a game is over early, but it didn't start out well," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It was just bang-bang-bang. We tried to find a way to keep him out there for a little while, because we all know what's going on with our bullpen."
It's been an ongoing issue this season, as Minnesota's starters have combined to throw 358 innings, which is the third-fewest in the Majors. Their 5.73 combined ERA is ranked last in baseball.
Dean, who entered leading Twins starters with a 4.17 ERA, exited his outing with a 5.54 mark after giving up seven runs on eight hits and three walks with no strikeouts. He allowed four runs in the first, including three just 13 pitches into the game after surrendering an RBI double to Rob Refsnyder and a two-run blast to Carlos Beltran.
"The game sped up on me. I started to get away from myself, and I wasn't locating pitches," Dean said. "That's a good ballclub. When you don't execute, they take advantage."
Molitor said Dean needs to mix in his pitches better, as he threw four curveballs and eight changeups among his 68 pitches. But when Dean was effective in his last outing against Boston, he threw 16 changeups and nine curves.
"Not many changeups and curves, and looking back, I wish I would've used that a little bit more," Dean said. "So it's something to definitely keep working on."
Rogers was particularly impressive with two scoreless innings, while Jepsen has been better of late since being demoted from the closer's role. This marked his fifth straight scoreless appearance.
"The guys I brought in for the last five innings, we were able to hold them to eight, if you want to look at that as a highlight," Molitor said. "The guys that came in, and Rogers sticks out to me, threw clean innings."