Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Duffey hasn't given up on being a starter

Right-hander eyes rotation job, but could start year in bullpen
MLB.com @RhettBollinger

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Tyler Duffey knows the additions of right-handers Jake Odorizzi and Lance Lynn hurt his chances of making the Twins' roster, but Duffey is trying to focus on what he can control and not worry about what will happen at the end of camp.

Duffey made his fourth appearance and first start of the Grapefruit League season against a lineup full of Red Sox regulars in a 2-1 loss on Wednesday, pitching his way in and out of trouble in three innings. He surrendered two runs (one earned) on four hits, two walks and a hit by pitch while striking out two and has a 4.66 ERA.

View Full Game Coverage

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Tyler Duffey knows the additions of right-handers Jake Odorizzi and Lance Lynn hurt his chances of making the Twins' roster, but Duffey is trying to focus on what he can control and not worry about what will happen at the end of camp.

Duffey made his fourth appearance and first start of the Grapefruit League season against a lineup full of Red Sox regulars in a 2-1 loss on Wednesday, pitching his way in and out of trouble in three innings. He surrendered two runs (one earned) on four hits, two walks and a hit by pitch while striking out two and has a 4.66 ERA.

View Full Game Coverage

"I've just been told I'm being lengthened out," said Duffey, who threw 50 pitches and 10 more in the bullpen after his outing. "It's out of my hands. I just have to go out and get outs like today."

• Rosario starts throwing program

Duffey's best chance at making the roster is in long relief, as the Twins are likely to open with a four-man rotation consisting of Jose Berrios, Odorizzi, Lynn and Kyle Gibson. And even if the club goes with a fifth starter, Phil Hughes is the favorite for that spot, as he's shown he's healthy this spring after a second rib surgery to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome. But if the Twins decide to go with a five-man rotation with Hughes in it, there's a chance Duffey could open as the club's long reliever.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

"Some spots filled up, but the opportunities are still going to be there," Duffey said. "It's just being ready for it and being able to capitalize and get the outs I'm supposed to get. If I do my job and get outs, everything else will take care of itself."

Twins manager Paul Molitor said the plan is to continue to stretch Duffey out, as he'll start again on Monday, and said it's too early to predict how the roster will go.

"We're going to give him a look and get him extended," Molitor said. "But he battled today even though he didn't have his best stuff."

Wednesday was Duffey's first start at any level since March 20, 2017, snapping a streak of 59 straight relief appearances in the regular season and Spring Training. Duffey admitted he had nerves early in his outing, walking Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez to load the bases with one out in the first, but Duffey settled down, striking out Xander Bogaerts and Mitch Moreland to get out of the jam.

"It was definitely different, because it was almost exactly a year since I last started," Duffey said. "But once I got the first couple batters out of the way, it got back to normal. I made some good pitches and got out of some jams."

Duffey hasn't started in the Majors since 2016 after being converted to a reliever last season, posting a 4.94 ERA in 71 innings. Duffey has Minor League options and can be sent to Triple-A Rochester to remained stretched out to start, and he hasn't given up on becoming a starter again at the Major League level.

"I think I'm capable of doing it, but it's just about getting that crack at it," Duffey said. "If it's this year, that's great. If I'm in long relief, that's great, too. We'll see what happens."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and Facebook.

Minnesota Twins, Tyler Duffey