MLB Team Report - Minnesota Twins - INSIDE PITCH
If you thought bright spots were hard to find in the 2013 Minnesota Twins, who are 12 games under .500 after a 7-4 loss to Tampa Bay on Monday, you haven't looked very hard. Relief pitcher Caleb Thielbar is shining brighter than a fireworks display on a 4th of July night.
In fact, on Wednesday, Thielbar was the bright spot in an otherwise lackluster series with the Yankees in which the Twins were swept four games.
Against the Yankees, Thielbar threw two scoreless innings with three strikeouts. He followed that outing with another scoreless inning in Toronto. In doing so, he recorded his 17th straight scoreless appearance to begin his major league career. His scoreless innings and appearances are Twins records at the start of a career.
Thielbar had a run of 20 consecutive scoreless innings snapped Monday when he allowed a two-run homer to Ben Zobrist in the seventh inning of the loss to the Rays.
His scoreless inning streak was the second longest in the majors behind the Brewers' John Axford (20-1/3) before it was finally broken Monday.
"That's pretty cool. Another really good story," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's been really good up here. Not just marginal. He's been throwing the ball really well. He's at that point where I'm not afraid to bring him in against big boys and anytime in the game."
So who saw this coming? Just two seasons ago, Thielbar was throwing pitches across the river and outside of the majors for the St. Paul Saints of the Independent League.
"Thielbar has been impressive," general manager Terry Ryan said. "I like the way he looks like he just isn't intimidated. He comes in and throws it over. He gets his breaking ball over. It doesn't matter if it's a (left- or right-handed batter). To this point, I think you have to be pleased with what he's doing, especially when you know where he came from about seven miles down the road."
Thielbar was originally drafted out of South Dakota State in 2009 by the Milwaukee Brewers -- just a little further down the road. For whatever reason, the Brewers released him, but the Twins kept their eyes on him.
"He was on our (draft) list," Ryan said. "That's one of the reasons that when he got released, we were intrigued. We followed him quickly when he signed up with the Saints."
The Twins got him in 2011 and in 2012 Thielbar quickly rose through the ranks. He got a promotion to the Twins' big club on May 20 and hasn't been overwhelmed by his surroundings. He has been lights out ever since.
"I am not surprised to see his poise because he exhibited that last year," Ryan said. "When you move a guy from (Class) A to Double-A to Triple-A who has come out of Independent baseball, I think that (poise) is just part of his mentality."
Thielbar, known as a fairly quiet person in the dugout, is quietly, perhaps, making team history. But currently pitching on a bullpen that has had its struggles of late, it's going to be hard not to notice Thielbar going forward.
MLB Team Report - Minnesota Twins - NOTES, QUOTES
STREAK: Lost two
PAST 10 GAMES: 2-8
NEXT: Twins (Kyle Gibson, 1-1. 7.94) vs. Rays (Chris Archer, 2-3, 4.17)
--1B Justin Morneau hit his seventh homer of the season Monday in a 7-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. The homer off Roberto Hernandez tied him for fourth with Bob Allison (211) on the Twins' all-time list.
--CF Aaron Hicks set a career-high with four hits and had a chance to hit for the cycle with a home run in the ninth inning of a 7-4 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field on Monday, but hit his second double instead. The rookie went 4-for-4 and improved his batting average from .190 to .205.
--RHP Samuel Deduno (4-4) took the loss Monday at Tropicana Field after allowing five earned runs on 10 hits and two walks in six innings. He left the 7-4 loss after allowing a go-ahead homer to Yunel Escobar and a triple to Desmond Jennings.
--RHP Caleb Thielbar had a run of 20 consecutive scoreless innings snapped when he allowed a two-run homer to Ben Zobrist in the seventh inning of a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on Monday. The rookie entered with 17 consecutive scoreless appearances and held hitters 0-for-31. The 17 consecutive scoreless appearances was a Twins record for a pitcher beginning his career.
--RHP Kyle Gibson (1-1. 7.94) is expected to make his third career start and appearance Tuesday when the Twins play the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. He has allowed 11 hits and eight runs in 5 1/3 innings this season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I just didn't make very good pitches tonight. Everything stayed up, and the fastball didn't move." -- RHP Samuel Deduno after a 7-4 loss to Tampa Bay on Monday.
MLB Team Report - Minnesota Twins - ROSTER REPORT
--OF Oswaldo Arcia (right hand) had X-rays that came back negative. He was hit by a pitch on the pinkie finger July 6, but it has turned out to be just a bruise. He did not play in the final game of the Blue Jays series in Toronto on July 7. He returned and started July 8.
--LF Josh Willingham (sore left knee) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 1. Willingham had surgery July 3 to repair a medial meniscus tear, and he is expected to be out until early to mid-August.
--CF Wilkin Ramirez (concussion) went on the seven-day disabled list May 26. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Fort Myers on June 20. He went to Minneapolis for observation July 3 after suffering dizziness during a rehab game.
--OF Darin Mastroianni (stress reaction in left ankle)was to begin a rehab assignment in Fort Meyers July 7. Mastroianni has been on the 60-day DL after aggravating an ankle injury early in the season that ultimately required surgery went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 16. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 22 after having surgery on a bone chip in his left ankle. His ankle was moved to a walking boot from a cast May 29.
--RHP Tim Wood (right rotator cuff strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 24, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 24. He began a rehab assignment in mid-April, but he was shut down May 9.
RHP Kevin Correia
LHP Scott Diamond
RHP Samuel Deduno
RHP Kyle Gibson
RHP Mike Pelfrey
LHP Glen Perkins (closer)
RHP Jared Burton
LHP Brian Duensing
RHP Casey Fien
RHP Anthony Swarzak
RHP Ryan Pressly
RHP Josh Roenicke
LHP Caleb Thielbar
DH Ryan Doumit
1B Justin Morneau
2B Brian Dozier
SS Pedro Florimon
3B Trevor Plouffe
INF Eduardo Escobar
INF/OF Jamey Carroll
LF Oswaldo Arcia
CF Aaron Hicks
RF Chris Parmelee
OF Clete Thomas