Twins recall righty Tonkin after Gibson sent down

Twins recall righty Tonkin after Gibson sent down

DETROIT -- The Twins recalled right-handed reliever Michael Tonkin from Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday to take the spot of right-hander Kyle Gibson, who was optioned to Rochester after his start on Monday.

Tonkin, 23, has a combined 2.39 ERA with 60 strikeouts and 13 walks in 52 2/3 innings between Double-A New Britain and Rochester this year. He recorded seven saves at New Britain and 11 at Rochester.

He also made his lone Major League appearance with the Twins on July 11, throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Rays, when left-hander Caleb Thielbar was on the bereavement list.

Tonkin is regarded as one of the organization's top relief prospects, as he possesses a mid-90s fastball and a hard slider he uses as his out pitch. He showed off his big arm in his Twins debut, striking out Rays star Evan Longoria with a 96-mph fastball.

"It was fun to experience it and see how everything works, like how the clubhouse works," Tonkin said of his time in the Majors. "But I wouldn't say I got a huge taste of it. But to be able to experience it firsthand was nice."

But his stint with the Twins could be a short one again, as the club is without a starter for Saturday's game against the Indians, with Gibson sent down to Rochester.

The Twins could opt to use long reliever Anthony Swarzak in a spot start, or they could call up a starter from Rochester, such as Liam Hendriks, Scott Diamond or P.J. Walters. Hendriks could be the most likely, as he threw eight scoreless innings in his last start on Monday and is lined up to start again on Saturday.

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.