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08/13/08 3:00 PM ET
No rest for Twins' weary Guerrier
Short outings from starters has 'pen carrying heavy load
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- There is nothing more that manager Ron Gardenhire would rather do than give Matt Guerrier a break. Unfortunately, the skipper said, there just hasn't been an opportunity to do that lately. "You see one anyplace?" Gardenhire said when asked on Wednesday morning if Guerrier needs a rest. "You see a happy vacation spot we can send people to? I don't, so we'll just have to do the best we can." The Twins' bullpen on the whole has been overworked in recent days, but perhaps no reliever has shown the effects of that more than Guerrier. The right-hander has pitched in eight of the club's past 12 games and has struggled over that span. He's posted an 18.00 ERA and a .485 batting average against in those eight appearances. It's a sign, perhaps, that the reliever is beginning to fatigue -- despite Guerrier's constant assertions otherwise. But Gardenhire knows that the amount Guerrier has been on the mound lately has started to take its toll. "Yeah, he's been worked a lot," Gardenhire said. "I've love to be able to say we're going to give you four or five days here, let you catch your breath. But it's just not that simple. ... If your starters are going five and six, you tell me where you can find the breaks at." With a young rotation that has an average age of 25, the Twins have had to fill up their share of innings late in ballgames. Most of the young starters have been unable to pitch beyond the sixth inning on a consistent basis, and that's created a large workload for the club's relievers -- including Guerrier. "I kept saying, if we don't start getting deeper into games, then some guys are going to get worn down here," Gardenhire said. "He's been the guy that got them out, that's why we put him out there so much, and now it's a little bit of a struggle for him. But baseball is cycles, and this is a little bit of a bad cycle. Hopefully we can figure out a way to get him through it and get him back on the up-and-up." Due to the amount of work the bullpen has seen so far this season, the Twins have been looking to add relief help for at least a month. But with no standout options in the Minors and no luck in finding help on the trade market, the team has been left to rely on what they have right now. That is, Gardenhire said, until September, when rosters expand and the Twins can bring in additional arms to help eat up innings. And while that likely means no break in the foreseeable future for Guerrier, Gardenhire has hope that things can still turn around for the right-hander. "Matty's one of the big reasons why we're where we're at right now," Gardenhire said. "I know it's been a rough stretch, but he got us here. I expect him to rebound and get 'er done as we go along here."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.