Nolasco hoping to avoid trip to disabled list
Nursing right ankle injury, Twins starter likely to miss next turn in rotation
BOSTON -- Whether starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco can avoid another stint on the disabled list remains up in the air, but it at least appears he will miss his next turn in the Twins' rotation.
Nolasco (5-1, 5.51 ERA) left the Twins' 6-5 win over the Blue Jays on Sunday in the second inning after suffering a right ankle impingement -- inflammation caused by stress on the muscle tissues -- that began affecting his velocity and location. An MRI revealed no structural damage to any tendons or ligaments, manager Paul Molitor said on Tuesday, and the team's training staff feels optimistic that the right-hander will not remain sidelined for an extended time period.
However, the Twins plan on letting Nolasco throw off the mound on Thursday, which would "probably" rule him out for Friday's series opener against Milwaukee, according to Molitor.
"He had an old injury in there that was causing some impingement," Molitor said. "Every time he everted with his right foot and pushed off that rubber, he was getting a lot of pain. The trainers feel that they have a fairly good chance of getting him back on track rather quickly. And maybe he can avoid the DL.
"We thought three days of treatment before he got on the mound. If he's good, we'll see where to slate him in here as we go forward through the Milwaukee series."
Thursday's probable starter has yet to be announced. With Nolasco's status in doubt, the Twins could be in need of a spot starter on Friday if Kyle Gibson pitches in Thursday's series finale with the Red Sox.
Molitor did not rule out using long man J.R. Graham, who worked three innings on 60 pitches in relief of Nolasco on Sunday, but he was hesitant to make any sort of commitment earlier than necessary. The Twins could also call up a starter from the Minors.
"There's obviously options there," Molitor said. "Gibson will be on regular rest. That would possibly leave a void as we head into the Milwaukee series. We're still kind of juggling with what's going to be best. Probably have to make that determination here rather quickly."
• With Monday's scheduled series opener postponed due to rain, right-hander Phil Hughes will start the first game of Wednesday's day-night doubleheader, which begins at 12:35 p.m. CT, while righty Trevor May takes the mound in the nightcap at 6:10.
• The Twins are permitted to add a 26th player to their active roster for the duration of Wednesday's doubleheader, and Molitor said he expects that player to be Michael Tonkin. The right-handed reliever, who has allowed four runs in seven innings this season, was optioned to Triple-A Rochester last Friday.
"When you have the unknown of tonight's game and a doubleheader, to me you can't have enough pitching. I don't want to be caught short-handed," Molitor said.