Gibson optioned to Triple-A Rochester

Veteran has struggled in regular season after a strong Spring Training

Gibson optioned to Triple-A Rochester

MINNEAPOLIS -- After his sixth straight sub-par outing to open the season, the Twins optioned veteran right-hander Kyle Gibson to Triple-A Rochester after Thursday's 8-5 loss to the A's.

Gibson lasted four innings, surrendering four runs on eight hits and three walks to fall to 0-4 with an 8.20 ERA. The five-year veteran will head to Triple-A for the first time since 2013. The Twins will make a corresponding roster move before Friday's game, and it's expected to be a reliever in the short-term until they need a fifth starter, which could be as late as May 13 because of Monday's off-day.

"It was another relatively rough start," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He had to battle through every inning. It's not working. It's putting us in a bad spot more times than not early in the season. To be honest with you, I still have faith in him but he needs an opportunity to work things out."

Gibson took the news in stride, meeting with chief baseball officer Derek Falvey, general manager Thad Levine and Molitor after the game. He was given information on what they want to see from him in Triple-A, and much of it is about commanding his pitches to get into better counts. As a sinkerballer who doesn't strike out many batters, falling behind hitters has been a major reason for his struggles this year.

"I don't know that I've had a more frustrating stretch that I can even remember," Gibson said. "I completely understand where they're coming from. I understand they need to make a change and I have things to work on. It's a whole lot easier to work on those at Triple-A than here when you're trying to win games and get big league hitters out."

Gibson's struggles come after an impressive Spring Training that saw him post a 1.59 ERA in seven starts, and he also worked to improve his mechanics with a new offseason throwing program. But Gibson said the changes were more related to staying healthy with his back and arm troubles in recent years.

"The changes I made in the offseason weren't necessarily trying to make my stuff better, it was about trying to stay healthy," Gibson said. "My arm feels great. As frustrated as I've been with my starts, I don't know in the last two years if I had a stretch of six starts where I felt this good [physically]."

Gibson said he plans to look at data, video and pitch sequencing to see why he's been so ineffective to try to get back to his ways in '15, when he had a career-best 3.84 ERA in 32 starts.

"I'll go back and look at a lot of it," Gibson said. "It's more than one area when you throw this poorly for six starts. Getting ahead of guys, attacking with two strikes, throwing my pitches in the zone, there are a lot of things."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.