4/21/2013 1:57 P.M. ET
Bullpen delivering stout relief in early going
By Joey Nowak / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Vance Worley gave a wry smile when asked about the Twins bullpen on Saturday afternoon, shortly after a host of relievers helped Worley's seven-inning, one-run outing stand up in a 2-1, 10-inning win.
"They're good," Worley said plainly. "I like them.
"They've got a lot of fire out there. Maybe they just get so amped up from being so cold out there? I don't know. I know they were all freezing when they came in here, but they compete. They know what they have, they go out there and throw strikes, get ahead in the count and it makes their job easy."
Minnesota's relievers have made it look easy at times this year, with many of them holding late-game experience. Three of them (Glen Perkins, Jared Burton and Josh Roenicke) have at least one save in their career. Casey Fien, Perkins, Roenicke and Anthony Swarzak all have a win this year.
Manager Ron Gardenhire didn't know how his relief arms would align during Spring Training, but the group endured a wild week of layoffs and postponements, holding onto a combined ERA of 2.10 entering Sunday. That's good for fourth in baseball.
"Not all of them had great springs, so I think we went more on their history and what we thought they could do," Gardenhire said. "You try to overlook some of the spring, especially with veteran guys or new guys coming in trying to do a little too much. But some of them in spring wasn't exactly what you'd hope for. But we liked their arms."
Burton and Ryan Pressly are two of 19 American League relievers maintaining a 0.00 ERA, and Swarzak (1.04) and Roenicke (1.17) are in the league's top 30.
Hernandez offers depth, but needs innings
CHICAGO -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire admitted he's a little concerned about the layoff lefty Pedro Hernandez is enduring at the back end of Minnesota's rotation.
Hernandez was recalled from the Minors on April 7 when Cole De Vries was placed on the disabled list. He threw five innings in that day's start, then threw 4 1/3 innings in long relief on April 12. But because of the rotation setup and Minnesota's schedule, he's not expected to throw again until probably April 29.
"Ultimately things happen. He'll get innings in, he'll get to pitch," Gardenhire said. "We've got to find innings for him. We can't just let him sit there and expect him to start on the 29th. We've got to be able to, some way or another, get him innings. He's going to maybe have to come in in some different situations rather than just long [relief]."
On the other hand, it does give the Twins a bit of an insurance policy in the bullpen for the time being.
"With Hernandez out there too, because of the fifth-starter situation, we've got plenty of length in our bullpen to protect us if we have issues," Gardenhire said.
• Right-handed reliever Tim Wood threw an inning for Triple-A Rochester on Saturday night, striking out two. He is on a rehab assignment for a right rotator cuff strain.
• Rich Harden is scheduled to throw a live batting practice session on Tuesday in Fort Myers, Fla., assistant general manager Rob Antony said.
• Rafael Perez (shoulder) and Samuel Deduno (groin) logged innings in extended spring workouts this weekend, Antony said. Perez threw an inning, and Antony said he still needs to build arm strength.
Deduno threw three innings and about 50 pitches. The Twins expect to stretch him out during extended camp as he works his way back from the injury sustained in the World Baseball Classic.
• Antony said outfielder Darin Mastroianni, on the 15-day disabled list with a stress reaction in his left ankle, will not be doing anything as long as he's in a walking boot. Antony said there's nothing to rehab at this point and that Mastroianni just needs to rest.