KANSAS CITY, MO. – The Twins swapped a pitcher for an outfielder on Sunday. Their manager hopes it's only temporary.
Trevor Larnach was activated from the injured list after missing a couple weeks because of a strained groin. The expectation was that another position player would be demoted, but when Cody Stashak felt some soreness in his pitching shoulder after throwing the ninth inning Saturday, the Twins figured the easiest move, especially on the last day of a road trip, was to simply place the righthander on the injured list and give Larnach his spot.
That brought the Twins roster into balance: 13 pitchers and 13 position players. Given all the pitching injuries this year and the lack of off days until a week into June, Rocco Baldelli doesn't want to keep it that way.
"I would anticipate probably adding a pitcher at some point along the way," the manager said. "Hopefully, we're playing well and we don't have to worry about that for a long while. And if not, we have guys that can come up anytime."
Trouble is, on May 30, MLB intends to begin enforcing a new rule that limits teams to 13 pitchers on their active roster at any one time. The subject gets Baldelli a little worked up.
"I'm hopeful that we'll be able to just keep 14 pitchers for the rest of the year. I'm hopeful," he said. "I don't ask for many headlines, but 'Manager hopeful to keep 14 pitchers' would be not one I would be opposed to seeing. Please put that out there somewhere."
The league has been flexible about roster limits this year, given the shortened spring training, so it's plausible he could get his wish.
"If MLB changes their mind and they give us the pitchers, we'll be able to use them. Injuries are prevalent and teams are a little behind and beat up with 14 pitchers. I don't think it's going to get any easier with 13," Baldelli said. "I know most clubs are probably thinking the same exact thing."
Trevor Megill left a St. Paul Saints team that had lost 11 games in a row through Friday, and came to a Twins team on a hot streak. The Saints promptly won a game.
"Yeah, I called that," he joked. "I think it was me."
Now that he's with the Twins, he intends to help keep them winning, and do it with a more limited repertoire than he used with the Cubs last season.
"Curveballs and fastballs — I'm just keeping it simple this year," said Megill, who pitched 1⅔ scoreless innings in his Twins debut Sunday. "Got rid of the slider. Didn't think I needed it."
The decision to ditch his slider wasn't an easy one, he said, but the Twins presented the idea to him last November, when they claimed him off waivers.
"At first, I was hesitant. Now it's started to show a lot of promise, and I'm happy with it," said Megill, who had a 3.27 ERA in 11 innings at Class AAA. "These guys are really good at analytics. They showed me the numbers and sold me on the two-pitch plan. It's simple and it's easy and it's worked."
- Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton were both healthy Sunday, but both were out of the lineup, though Correa pinch hit for Jose Miranda in the eighth inning and played shortstop the final two innings. "It warrants a conversation because we still have to look at what our lineup's going to look like, what the rest of our group is going to look like. There's a lot of things in the balance," Baldelli said of his decision. "But the most important part of this is, what does Buck need, what does Correa need? This is what we decided, both for short- and long-term."
- The Twins outscored the Royals 22-12 in the weekend series and outscored opponents 41-22 over the six-game road trip, going 5-1.