MINNEAPOLIS -- After giving up five runs in 5 1/3 innings on Friday night, Aug. 23, — a continuation of a tough August — Jose Berrios left Target Field after his start before talking to the media. Berrios apologized for that on Saturday, saying he was “not in a good frame of mind,” after the game.
“Like you guys know I’m a competitor, and we are battling to win the division,” Berrios said. “I felt last night that I’m not doing my job.”
Berrios has a 8.44 earned-run average in the month of August in four starts. He has given up 20 earned runs in 21 1/3 innings, and the Twins are making mechanical adjustments with him as they try to get him to return to form.
“We are working on my front shoulder, trying to stay more closed,” Berrios said. “Staying longer on my heel. I’m probably opening up, and I’m trying to stay closed.”
Though his velocity has dipped at times this month, he didn’t seem too concerned by that specific development, and Baldelli said there are indicators from the young starter that he hasn’t “struggled as much as people are wanting to discuss.”
“I’m focusing on quality rather than quantity. I don’t really focus that much on velocity. This year I probably have more innings at this time of the year than I did last year,” Berrios said. “My ERA is kind of lower than last year at this time of year. So I’m focusing on the quality of my outings and things like this and not focusing on velocity.”
Buxton headed to rehab assignment
Byron Buxton hopped in a rental car and headed south towards Iowa on Saturday.
The Twins’ center fielder is off to Cedar Rapids, where he will participate in a rehab assignment with the Class A Cedar Rapids Kernels as he nears a return to the Twins. Buxton will serve as the Kernels’ designated hitter on Sunday and play in the outfield on Monday.
The Twins head out on a three-city road trip to Chicago, Detroit and Boston after this weekend’s series wraps up, and manager Rocco Baldelli said it was possible that Buxton could join the team on that trip.
“We’ll let his play and how he feels and the feedback that we’ll get from Buck kind of determine some of that,” Baldelli said of Buxton’s timeline.
The center fielder has been sidelined with a left shoulder subluxation since he crashed into a wall during a game in Miami earlier this month.
Fellow outfielder Eddie Rosario (hamstring) was working out on Saturday, and Baldelli said they would have a clearer view on his timeline soon.
Friday, Rosario said he was feeling good and thought he could be back over the weekend. Saturday, Baldelli said “everything is a possibility,” when asked if Rosario’s injury could require an IL stint.
“He’s doing pretty well. This isn’t like a major hamstring issue or injury,” Baldelli said. “But that being said, if it’s going to take six, seven, eight days to get back to where he might be ready to play, then we have to talk about what’s next.”
Harper to Triple-A
Rookie Ryne Harper went from the 25th man to make the roster out of spring camp to the Twins’ most called upon reliever, summoned out of the bullpen 56 times already. Saturday, the Twins sent Harper down to Triple-A for the first time this season, recalling Cody Stashak.
The curveball specialist has run into some troubles lately, including Friday night when he gave up two runs in 1 1/3 innings. He has a 7.36 ERA in 10 August games, and his season ERA has risen from 2.93 to 3.65.
“The first time around in Major League Baseball, you’re facing good hitters. But if they don’t know you, you can do whatever it is you want to do, but as time goes on you have to make adjustments too, like everyone else who’s gone around the league the first time,” Baldelli said. “You learn from what you see. Just like the hitters learn from what they see, as a pitcher you have to learn from what you see and figure out what you have to do next.”