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Tonkin fills spot in Twins' bullpen

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West Central Tribune
Tonkin fills spot in Twins' bullpen
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

CHICAGO — Left-hander Brian Duensing is on paternity leave to open the season while right-hander Michael Tonkin was recalled from Triple-A Rochester to take his spot.


Duensing’s wife, Lisa, delivered the couple’s second child on Monday in Omaha, Neb., and the new dad is expected back later this week.

“I know he wants to be here, but there are more important things than that,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It’s an exciting moment, so we want him to be with his wife.”

Tonkin never allowed a run in seven spring training appearances and gave up just three hits while striking out five and walking a pair.

As the Twins held a voluntary workout Sunday at U.S. Cellular Field, Gardenhire was tight-lipped about who he’d start in Monday’s season opener. “I don’t want to give them any information,” he said. “I want them to have to search for it.”

White Sox manager Robin Ventura was also less than forthcoming.

Although the Twins and White Sox play 19 times a season, Opening Day meetings have been rare. The teams have kicked off the season against each other only three times previously, most recently in 1993. The teams are now tied 2-2 all-time after Monday’s 5-3 Chicago victory.

Notes, quotes


STREAK: Lost one

n RHP Ricky Nolasco felt he had a decent outing, but two mistakes in pitches to White Sox LF Alejandro De Aza were among the factors in Monday’s downfall. “I felt great,” he said. “I thought I made a lot of good pitches but the difference in the game was a couple pitches to De Aza and the double that (Conor) Gillaspie hit. ... I thought we played good; we battled all game and made it interesting late.” Nolasco (0-1) fell to 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA all-time in three career Opening Day starts (two with the Mariners). Two home runs allowed to De Aza were the most he’s allowed since Aug. 1, 2013 against the Cubs.

n C Kurt Suzuki had a good all-around game at and in back of the plate as he went 2-for-4 and recorded three RBIs for the first time since Aug. 13, 2013 vs. Tampa Bay. “The catcher a really good day, tough behind the plate blocking balls and a couple of big hits for us,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

n 1B Joe Mauer continued his transition from catcher to first base on Monday, making his Opening Day debut at the position. He’s spent most of his career behind the plate and only played 56 career games at first. Mauer appeared in his 10th Opening Day, including the previous nine spent behind the plate for every season since 2004 (except 2009). His 10 Opening Day starts tied Tony Oliva for fifth most in club history. Only Harmon Killebrew (12), Rod Carew (12), Kent Hrbek (12) and Kirby Puckett (11) have started more. Monday’s start at first base was the first.

n RHP Kevin Correia takes the mound in Wednesday’s second game of the series. He’ll face the White Sox for the fifth time in his career, including four previous starts where he’s lasted six-plus innings. Correia posted a 2.75 ERA in final nine starts from Aug. 11 to Sept. 25, 2013, with quality starts in six of those outings. He has a career record of 69-78 with a 4.49 ERA, 426 walks and 813 strikeouts in 321 games for Minnesota, San Francisco, Pittsburgh and San Diego.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I thought our starter (RHP Ricky Nolasco) threw the ball pretty decent, a couple mistakes and they end up in the seats. I thought we made some really nice defensive plays, we put some swings out there and we had opportunities.” — Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, after Monday’s 5-3 loss to the White Sox.

Roster report


n LHP Brian Duensing was placed on the paternity list and he’s expected to rejoin the team later this week after his wife, Lisa, delivered a baby boy, Boston Matthew Duensing, on March 31 in Omaha, Neb. Replacing Duensing on the 25-man roster was RHP Michael Tonkin from Triple-A Rochester.


RHP Ricky Nolasco

RHP Kevin Correia

RHP Phil Hughes

RHP Mike Pelfrey

RHP Kyle Gibson


LHP Caleb Thielbar

RHP Anthony Swarzak

LHP Brian Duensing(paternity leave)

RHP Michael Tonkin

RHP Casey Fien

RHP Jared Burton

RHP Sam Deduno

LHP Glen Perkins


Kurt Suzuki

Josil Pinto


1B Joe Mauer

2B Brian Dozier

SS Pedro Florimon

3B Trevor Plouffe

1B Chris Colabello

INF/OF Eduardo Escobar

INF/OF Jason Bartlett


LF/DH Josh Willingham

CF Aaron Hicks

RF Oswaldo Arcia

OF/DH Jason Kubel