No return date set for Nolasco
Molitor rules out six-man rotation for Twins
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins are still deciding when right-hander Ricky Nolasco will be activated from the 15-day disabled list, but will not go with a six-man rotation once he returns, Twins manager Paul Molitor said Wednesday.
Nolasco, on the DL retroactive to April 9 with right elbow inflammation, made a 67-pitch rehab start with Class A Cedar Rapids on Sunday, but the Twins haven't determined if he'll need another one. If not, he could return as early as Saturday, but Molitor isn't ready to announce his starters for this weekend and wants to talk with general manager Terry Ryan again before making a final decision.
"We've thought a lot about it," Molitor said. "It's kind of coming together for us, but we're going to keep it to be announced for this weekend for now. I'd like to talk to Terry more before we determine how to put it out there. It's not 100 percent yet, but we've got a little bit of a feeling of the way it's going."
Complicating matters is that the Twins don't have an easy option on who Nolasco will replace in the rotation.
Rookie Trevor May has pitched well since being called up from Triple-A Rochester, and is scheduled to start Thursday against the White Sox after exiting his last outing Saturday after being hit by a line drive near his elbow. Fellow right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who was slated to open the year in the bullpen before Ervin Santana was suspended 80 games, has been the club's best starter, with a 2.25 ERA in four starts.
Tommy Milone hasn't pitched well of late, but remains the lone left-hander in the rotation and began the season with two strong starts. Right-hander Kyle Gibson has to work on his consistency, but is coming off a solid outing against the Mariners on Sunday and is slated to start Friday.
Molitor, though, said he won't go with six starters because of the numbers crunch it causes with his roster.
"I don't think it makes sense for us," Molitor said. "The bullpen is already short. We're trying to protect [Rule 5 Draft pick J.R.] Graham a little bit. So we're a little limited in that regard. We could go to 13 pitchers, but that's not something I want to do to limit my bench to three players, either."