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Twins rotation still in flux after demotion of Berrios

By Brian Murphy St. Paul Pioneer Press DETROIT -- The Twins' starting rotation remained a revolving door Tuesday after rookie right-hander Jose Berrios was banished to Triple-A Rochester, Pat Dean claimed the open spot and Taylor Rogers arrived t...

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Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Jose Berrios reacts as Houston Astros’ Preston Tucker rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the second inning May 2 in Houston, Texas. (Troy Taormina | USA TODAY Sports)

By Brian Murphy

St. Paul Pioneer Press

DETROIT - The Twins’ starting rotation remained a revolving door Tuesday after rookie right-hander Jose Berrios was banished to Triple-A Rochester, Pat Dean claimed the open spot and Taylor Rogers arrived to relieve an overtaxed bullpen.

Dean’s steady 7⅓ innings of mop-up work behind Berrios’ messy start Monday night against the Tigers earned the left-hander Saturday’s start against the Toronto Blue Jays at Target Field.

“Given where we’re at, it makes the most sense, giving him an opportunity to start,” said manager Paul Molitor.

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Only five teams have worked their bullpen harder than Minnesota, which has had two starters on the disabled list, including right-hander Kyle Gibson, who remains sidelined with a shoulder strain.

The hard-throwing Berrios could not get through the first inning in the series opener at Comerica Park, tagged for seven runs on seven hits and four walks. His earned-run average over four starts ballooned to 10.20.

“He’s fighting it,” Molitor said. “There’s got to be some adjustments made and for him to do that up here is very challenging.”

Berrios, 21, struck out 20 and walked 12 over 15 innings but his wildness simply could not be chalked up to rookie jitters. Moreover, with the Twins buried in the standings and desperate for any momentum, Molitor said he could not afford to let Berrios work through his adversity at this level.

“I’m not on the bandwagon (of) it’s a lost season, let’s get these kids some major-league experience,” he said. “That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me at this stage.”

“I don’t think anybody thinks that it’s lost. Maybe some people on the outside do. They could prove to be right over time, but I’m not going to let that kid keep going out there until he has a little better idea what he’s doing with the baseball. I haven’t seen it enough.”

So Dean gets a chance to nail down the lefty role in the rotation vacated when Tommy Milone was demoted last month. Dean threw 91 pitches in 5⅓ innings, allowing two runs to Detroit.

“I was just focusing on trying to get the guy in front of me out; I didn’t try to think of anything else,” Dean said. “I’m glad I was able to do that and keep us in the game for a little bit.”

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With Dean in the rotation, Rogers gives the Twins another left-handed option out of the bullpen. He threw two-thirds of a scoreless inning in his major-league debut April 14 against the White Sox.

Since being optioned, he has made six appearances, including two starts, for the Rochester Red Wings, going 0-1 with a 5.06 ERA over 16 innings.

“Organizationally, we like Taylor a lot,” Molitor said. “He’s still kind of learning, and sometimes you feel like you’re rushing a guy out of necessity but he’s not afraid. He’s got great mound presence.”

Rogers last pitched Saturday for Rochester.

“I’m fresh,” he said. “I told them I’ll be ready for whatever they need.”

Meanwhile, Gibson is scheduled to throw to live hitters Thursday at Target Field and is poised to make at least one rehab start before he could be activated.

“I think we’re going to be a bit more cautious to get Kyle more stretched out so we get him at least close to being able to go 90 to 100 pitches,” Molitor said.

Briefly

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The Twins signed outfielder Robbie Grossman to a minor league deal and assigned him to Rochester. Grossman, 26, opted out of a deal with the Indians on Monday. He hit .240 with 11 home runs and 63 RBIs in parts of three major league seasons with the Houston Astros from 2013-15.

 

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