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Twins recall lefty Moya to help out bullpen

Littell optioned to Triple-A Rochester in corresponding move
MLB.com

MILWAUKEE -- The Twins continued their search for fresh and reliable bullpen arms by recalling left-hander Gabriel Moya from Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday.

Moya pitched the final two innings for the Twins in their 2-0 loss to the Brewers on Tuesday. He struck out four and did not allow any hits.

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MILWAUKEE -- The Twins continued their search for fresh and reliable bullpen arms by recalling left-hander Gabriel Moya from Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday.

Moya pitched the final two innings for the Twins in their 2-0 loss to the Brewers on Tuesday. He struck out four and did not allow any hits.

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Video: MIN@MIL: Moya strikes out Thames to end the 7th

Moya has now appeared in six games this season with the Twins, posting a 7.71 ERA and allowing three home runs in seven innings. While he has yet to find his groove in the Majors in 2018, Moya has been sharp in 20 appearances (three starts) with Rochester, with a 1.64 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 33 innings.

"We knew he was throwing the ball well," Molitor said, "and he made it look pretty easy getting the last six outs."

"When I got sent down at the beginning of the season," Moya said, "I went down there and tried to work hard. My mentality is basically to execute all my pitches and that's been working for me."

Manager Paul Molitor expects a different Moya this time around, especially with his slider and curveball, which were issues in his first stint this season.

"I think he kind of has a couple different shapes to it," Molitor said. "There's probably a little separation from the slider and the curve, but he's been trying to use them both a little bit more, trying to get a little more tilt. He's not getting a lot of swings and misses, but he's getting some weaker contact. Everyone is saying that pitch is improving, which is important to have more weapons against lefties which have given him trouble."

To make space for Moya, Minnesota optioned right-hander Zack Littell to Rochester. Littell issued the walk-off walk in a 6-5 loss to the Brewers on Monday night at Miller Park.

Littell was forced into Monday's loss after Fernando Rodney blew a save in the ninth inning and Molitor turned to four other relievers in relief of starter Kyle Gibson, who hurled five frames.

After Littell -- a starter in Triple-A this season -- loaded the bases without recording an out, Molitor visited the mound to implement a five-man infield, but Littell thought he was being removed from the game in his second career Major League appearance.

"I just had to kind of reset him for a minute, told him what the plan was, and try to give him a thought process that would extend the game," Molitor said. "I think he was probably a little nervous. A young pitcher like that who is accustomed to starting, where if you give up a run in the first inning you've still got a lot of game -- that wasn't the case. It was a tall order."

Dozier, Motter updates
Molitor held Brian Dozier out of the lineup for only the fourth time in 82 games this season on Tuesday, looking to get his All-Star second baseman some rest. Dozier is hitting .172 in 26 games since June 3.

"He's good," Molitor said. "He's a little banged up, but he's doing OK. I talked to him earlier this week about a day [off] somewhere on this trip, without knowing exactly what day it was going to be. It's always tough to sit him. If he had his druthers, he'd play 162 [games] and start them all. So it's just kind of a common-sense decision here with the Chicago experience and these day games here following a night game."

Molitor also said Taylor Motter is progressing. The Twins placed Motter on the 7-day concussion disabled list after he crashed into the right-field wall while attempting to make a running catch last Thursday against the White Sox.

Video: MIN@CWS: Motter is shaken up after slamming into wall

Motter took batting practice Monday and participated in defensive drills Tuesday.

"He's feeling good," Molitor said. "Symptoms have been good the last couple of days as far as pretty much eliminated. He's coming along as well as we could have hoped to this point."

Motter played in seven games for the Twins in June after being claimed off waivers from the Mariners in May.

As the Twins try to fend off the injury bug and recover from a 10-game deficit in the American League Central, Molitor said he isn't thinking too much about the possibility of Minnesota becoming sellers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"Everyone kind of understands this is where we're at, and the time of year we're approaching, some of these things are going to pick up in terms of rumors or things that could potentially happen," Molitor said. "We have a lot of people who fall into those categories where names might be discussed. I'm not going to get too far ahead of that, but just see where the day-to-day takes us."

Stephen Cohn is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. Follow him on Twitter @Stephen__Cohn.

Minnesota Twins, Gabriel Moya