Twins will be cautious with young Berrios

September 15th, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins right-hander already has thrown a career-high 175 2/3 innings between Triple-A and the Majors this season, and manager Paul Molitor said they'll be cautious with the 23-year-old down the stretch.

Berrios, who threw 169 2/3 innings last year, pitched well against the Blue Jays on Thursday, allowing one run over 5 2/3 innings, but walked four and admitted he dealt with fatigue during the game.

Molitor and Berrios clarified he's not dealing with any issues with his arm, but they are trying to take steps to limit his throwing in between starts down the stretch to keep him fresh. Berrios skipped his bullpen session between his last start and was limited to a 15-pitch bullpen session prior to that.

"I think it's more general fatigue than arm," Molitor said. "We're just going to be smart in terms of how long we let him go in a given day. We all know how he works out, and we're getting him to back off a little. It's not that we don't want him working out, but conserve it the best you can for the days you pitch."

Berrios' average four-seam velocity has dipped slightly as the season has gone along, but not by much, dropping from 94.1 mph in May to 93.9 mph in September. It was actually up on Thursday, averaging 94.5 mph, which shows his arm strength is just fine.

"I'm not concerned to the point where I'd have to back him off a start or anything," Molitor said. "It's just you have to keep an eye on these things this time of year."

Berrios, who also welcomed home a newborn son, Diego Jose, born on Friday, said he's not worried about his innings total and was given the option to have his start pushed back a day or two but declined.

"I feel good," Berrios said through a translator. "My goal is always 200 innings. During the offseason, I work to get to 200 innings. I know that I'm maybe a little far from that, but I feel great. Nothing has affected me."

Molitor added that the organization under chief baseball officer Derek Falvey also doesn't subscribe to any universal theory about what percent innings increase from one year to the next can lead to an injury.

"I've talked to Derek about those calculations in the past -- he's as big a pitching expert as anybody -- and it's just so individualistic," Molitor said. "You can try to generalize it, but it depends on the person. But I think we're all comfortable he's going to be fine."