CLEVELAND – Another day, another couple of pitching moves for the Twins. They could use their 26th and 27th different pitchers of the season by the end of the weekend after calling up righthanders Trevor Hildenberger and Dillon Gee.
It wasn’t likely to come to this for Hildenberger. He said he pitched just 12 innings over his first three seasons at the University of California.
“I threw 85-88 [miles per hour], super straight. No break. No changeup,” he said. “I didn’t pitch a lot.”
At the suggestion of a coach, Hildenberger tried throwing sidearm. That put him on the path that brought him to Progressive Field on Friday as a member of the Twins.
He now throws 88-93-mph fastballs with that sidearm delivery, plus a curveball and slider. He will try to throw hitters off by occasionally reverting to an conventional delivery.
“Try to keep the ball down in the zone and pitch to contact,” he said.
His numbers are impressive: In 124 minor league games, he has a 1.57 ERA and 52 saves. In 171⅔ innings, he’s given up four home runs (two to the same guy, he thinks), walked 26 and struck out 200. He was drafted by the Twins in the 22nd round in 2014 and started his career as a 23-year-old in rookie ball.
Hildenberger had a 2.05 ERA in 21 games at Class AAA Rochester. Will his style work against major league hitters? He, along with the Twins, are about to find out.
“It has been a good mix for him down there,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Gee on board
Gee spent all of two nights with Class AAA Rochester. He arrived Wednesday after signing as a free agent, then spent Thursday charting pitches in the clubhouse as the Red Wings took on Lehigh Valley. On Friday, he was called up to the majors.
“I never actually put the uniform on,” he said.
It was a surprise to Gee, 31, as he was looking to make a few appearances and build a case for a return to the majors. But it doesn’t take much to pitch for the Twins these days, as they are in dire need of innings.
“Right now, I told him, ‘I need you for length,’ ” Molitor said. “That’s cut and dry. We really haven’t had that guy for a while.”
Gee has made 151 appearances in his career, including 125 starts. He began this season with Texas, giving up six earned runs in 13 innings, before being designated for assignment last Saturday.
As of about 3:30 p.m. Central time Friday, lefthander Hector Santiago was tentatively scheduled to start Tuesday in Boston.
Santiago threw only 57 pitches Wednesday in a rehabilitation outing for Rochester, but Molitor hoped Santiago would be good for 75 pitches on Tuesday.
If he actually starts.
“I only say tentative,” Molitor said, “because everything seems tentative around here, in terms of pitching.”
• The Twins made room on the 40-man roster for Hildenberger and Gee by designating for assignment righthander Alex Wimmers and lefthander Mason Melotakis. Melotakis was a surprise, given that he had just been promoted to Rochester. It’s what happens when you try out so many pitchers in the majors.
• The Twins signed righthander Blayne Enlow, their third-round draft pick, for $2 million. The slot number for third-rounders was $755,500, but the Twins went above that to keep him from honoring his commitment to LSU.