Inbox: Who are Twins turning to as 5th starter?

Beat reporter Rhett Bollinger fields Minnesota fans' questions

August 14th, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS -- After winning seven of eight games, the Twins find themselves firmly back in playoff contention, even after trading and before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The Twins have been resilient this year, as every time it looks like they're going to fade from contention, they get right back into the race. Pitching depth remains an issue for the club, but general manager Thad Levine said they're looking to making additions via the waiver wire and could pivot to being buyers again.

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It'll be interesting to see what the Twins do down the stretch, and with that in mind, here's this week's Inbox:

With rookie lefty on the 10-day disabled list, Minnesota has turned to fellow rookie to fill in as the fifth starter in the short term, but the club is skipping his start on Wednesday and he'll pitch in relief until starting again Saturday. Enns, acquired from the Yankees for Garcia, will remain in that role depending on how he fares, while long reliever is a candidate to take it if Enns falters. A dark-horse candidate is prospect Stephen Gonsalves, but he's not on the 40-man roster.

It's still more than two weeks away, but the Twins will bring up reinforcements in September. Among position players, catcher , outfielder and first baseman/designated hitter are essentially locks. Outfielder could also be called up, while ByungHo Park has been hot, but isn't on the 40-man roster.

Among pitchers, Gonsalves and are the most intriguing, but as noted above, Gonsalves isn't on the roster, while Minnesota will be cautious with Romero's workload. Gonsalves, who is at Triple-A Rochester, could get a look as a starter because he hasn't thrown many innings this year due an early-season shoulder injury, but Romero would be more likely to pitch in relief. Other 40-man roster candidates include and Nik Turley, while John Curtiss is a candidate not on the 40-man.

It's an interesting question after the Twins traded away Kintzler, as they don't have an obvious internal solution at closer next year. Minnesota holds a $6.5 million option on that it won't exercise, but he could still return on a lesser deal, depending on how he fares once he returns from his shoulder surgery. There's also a chance the Twins could reunite with Kintzler in free agency, as he really liked his time in Minnesota and was hoping not to get traded before the Deadline.

Curtiss is a future candidate among the Twins' hard-throwing Minor Leaguers, while and have impressed as setup relievers. The side-arming Hildenberger is intriguing, and he has closed in the Minors and picked up his first career save on Sunday, throwing 1 1/3 scoreless innings against the Tigers.

Minnesota has been aggressive with each of its top two picks in the Draft, as No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis was promoted to Class A Cedar Rapids from the Gulf Coast League and No. 35 overall selection Brent Rooker is at Class A Advanced Fort Myers.

But Levine explained it doesn't mean the Twins will be this aggressive with Lewis going forward. He'll compete with fellow shortstop Wander Javier next spring to be Cedar Rapids' shortstop, and Javier has been faring well for Rookie-level Elizabethton.

Rooker, though, is on more of a fast track, considering he's four years older than Lewis. After a slow start at Fort Myers, he's really heated up and is showing off his immense power. He could start next year at Fort Myers again or at Double-A Chattanooga.

Glad to see avid Inbox reader asking important questions, but I had to do some crowdsourcing to find the answers. From what I've been told from friends who watch the show, I should feel bad for a guy named Peter in "The Bachelorette" finale, and the consensus on Twitter is to go with millet over soybeans.