Twins call up Wheeler, Rucinski to boost 'pen

Twins call up Wheeler, Rucinski to boost 'pen

MINNEAPOLIS -- Following a 15-inning marathon on Sunday, the Twins added a pair of arms from Triple-A Rochester to help a taxed bullpen for a three-game set with the Astros at Target Field.

On Monday, Minnesota recalled right-hander Drew Rucinski and selected the contract of lefty Jason Wheeler, but it was a short stay for Rucinski, who was optioned back to Rochester after allowing three runs in the ninth inning of a 16-8 loss. Left-hander Buddy Boshers was recalled after the game. Wheeler, 26, has yet to make an appearance in the Major Leagues.

"It's a really cool thing to be here, and see a jersey with my name on it and this awesome clubhouse. I've never been in a clubhouse this big," Wheeler said. "It was always the goal that I thought I could reach to get here to the big leagues."

Wheeler, who was selected in the eighth round of the 2011 Draft, has started in seven of his eight outings with the Red Wings. He was slated to start for Rochester on Monday. Wheeler has gone 4-1 with a 4.50 ERA and 37 strikeouts compared to 10 walks over a total of 44 innings of work.

In fact, Wheeler has made only one relief appearance during regular-season play in Minnesota's Minor League system. Wheeler has made 139 starts in six seasons in the team's farm system, going 55-37 with a 3.70 ERA.

Because of his inexperience coming out of the bullpen, Wheeler admitted he will learn just as much by simply watching the routine of the Twins' relievers.

"I was talking with Taylor Rogers earlier about how I don't know what it's like to be a reliever," Wheeler said. "I will definitely be taking note and tagging along. [Rogers] will be good help. I've been a teammate of his for a few years and he also went through the change."

The corresponding moves before the series opener were necessary after Minnesota demoted Kennys Vargas to Triple-A and placed Justin Haley (shoulder) on the disabled list.

"I know Jason fairly well so I didn't have to do a lot of digging," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "He's a guy who knows his stuff. He's not overpowering. But he's not afraid to pitch in. He's got enough offspeed stuff to keep you honest, and throws strikes."

Worth noting

• Molitor also said that left-hander Hector Santiago is still expected to start in Wednesday's series finale against Houston. Santiago was handed the loss on Friday and Sunday against Tampa Bay, with the latter taking place during a 21-pitch relief appearance in the 15th frame.

• Left-hander Adam Wilk has cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to Triple-A Rochester. Wilk has made three appearances for the Twins this season, allowing three runs off eight hits across seven innings.

• Right-hander Kyle Gibson is also slated to start his next turn come Friday against the Angels in Anaheim. In the finale against the Rays, Gibson allowed three runs (two earned) over 5 1/3 frames. He is 1-4 with a 7.85 ERA in eight starts this season.

Shane Jackson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Minneapolis. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.