Twins recall Milone to shore up rotation
Lefty to face Red Sox in series finale
BOSTON -- The Twins' hazy rotation situation became a little clearer on Wednesday.
With Ricky Nolasco's availability in doubt for this weekend's home series against Milwaukee, manager Paul Molitor revealed that left-hander Tommy Milone would be recalled from Triple-A Rochester to start Thursday's series finale against the Red Sox. As a result, Kyle Gibson will now pitch Friday on an extra day of rest.
Saturday's pitcher remains a question mark.
"I think as the weekend's unfolded with Ricky's situation, having to push back his bullpen [session] a day [and give] him an extra day to rehab and give himself the best chance to see if he's capable of not having to go on the disabled list," Molitor said, "it became obvious that we were going to have to do some tweaking with the rotation."
Milone is 4-0 with a 0.70 ERA in five starts for Rochester this season, notching 47 strikeouts to just three walks in 38 2/3 innings. Though he was naturally frustrated at the prospect of ironing out command issues in the Minors, he expressed confidence in the adjustments made during recent weeks.
"Obviously I might have had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder," Milone said after arriving in Boston on Wednesday. "Going down, I was frustrated. But I kind of used that to my advantage, went down, worked on some things, attacked the zone and did exactly what they wanted me to do. I feel like that's actually helped me in the long run."
The corresponding roster move for Milone's addition has not been determined, and it will hinge on whether Nolasco, who suffered a right ankle impingement Sunday, can avoid a stint on the disabled list. His scheduled bullpen session on Thursday will play a significant role in that decision.
"I think the trainers are giving me a roughly 50-50 chance of him being able to pitch here in the short term," Molitor said. "No matter what they do as far as rehabbing and testing that foot, pushing off the rubber is going to be the biggest key -- if he can do it with normal physicality and not have to make some kind of adjustment to make it so he doesn't feel pain."
If Nolasco can prove the injury is not affecting his mechanics, he would start against the Brewers on Saturday, and the Twins could option one of their eight relievers to the Minors when Milone arrives. Otherwise, the team will need a spot starter to fill in for Nolasco.
Molitor would not rule out using long reliever J.R. Graham and the bullpen to cover for the Twins in Nolasco's absence.
"It's not going to be a matter of trying to be tough and finagle his way through five innings," Molitor said. "If he's healthy and he throws well, we want him to be able to go out there and do what he normally does. Not anything less or short of that."
• As expected, reliever Michael Tonkin was recalled as the team's 26th man prior to Wednesday's doubleheader. He pitched one inning in Game 1 and allowed a solo home run to Mike Napoli in Wednesday's 6-3 loss to the Red Sox.
• Lefty pitching prospect Stephen Gonsalves received a promotion to Class A Advanced Fort Myers on Monday after taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning for Class A Cedar Rapids earlier that day. Gonsalves, who posted a 1.15 ERA with Cedar Rapids, is the organization's No. 11 prospect, according to MLB.com.