Gee may return to 'pen as Twins mull options

Righty labors vs. Royals with next turn slated for Wednesday

Gee may return to 'pen as Twins mull options

MINNEAPOLIS -- Dillon Gee's time as the Twins' fifth starter is likely over.

Gee struggled for a second straight outing, allowing five runs over 2 2/3 innings in a 7-6 loss to the Royals on Friday night. It was Gee's third straight start, but he gave up four runs over four innings to the Blue Jays last time out, and the contending Twins, who had their four-game win streak snapped, can't afford to have an inconsistent fifth starter.

Twins manager Paul Molitor said he's not ready to announce any changes to the rotation yet, but acknowledged he'll continue to have conversations with the front office about the fifth spot with the next start coming on Wednesday against the Rays at Tropicana Field.

"We're planning the next seven to 10 days what we're going to do with the rotation," Molitor said. "We're probably going to sleep on it a little bit. [Gee's] been start-to-start as it is, and that's probably how it'll continue until his next turn in the rotation."

Gee whiffs Moustakas

Gee tossed two scoreless innings before running into trouble during a five-run third that was capped by a three-run homer from Mike Moustakas with two out. Molitor said he noticed Gee couldn't command his curveball, but Gee said it was also an issue with his fastball location as well.

"I just stopped executing pitches," Gee said. "Physically, I felt fine, but my delivery hasn't felt great recently. I lacked command and when you lack command, you get hurt. I didn't have a feel for much and my fastball command was off, leaking a lot of balls over the plate."

Right-hander Aaron Slegers could be called up from Triple-A Rochester to take Gee's spot in the rotation. Slegers improved to 15-4 with a 3.60 ERA for Rochester with a win on Friday, striking out 10 batters for a second straight start while allowing three runs over 6 2/3 innings. The 6-foot-10, 245-pounder also fared well in his lone Major League start, allowing two runs on two hits over 6 1/3 innings in a win against the Indians on Aug. 17.

Gee, though, has fared well in long relief for the Twins, posting a 2.13 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings over four appearances. Left-hander Nik Turley was called up on Friday to help in that role and Tyler Duffey tossed 2 1/3 innings, but Molitor said moving Gee back into that role is under consideration.

"There are a lot of factors," Molitor said. "We're looking for somebody to give us the best chance and give us some protection. We have Turley from the left side and Duffey has gone long for us. So we just need to decide who is going to get that next turn in the rotation. I'm not ready to say who that is going to be tonight."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.