5/2/2014 8:31 P.M. ET
Pelfrey to DL; Deduno to enter Twins' rotation
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Right-hander Mike Pelfrey was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin on Friday, and he will be replaced in the rotation by right-hander Samuel Deduno. Shortstop Danny Santana was recalled Saturday from Triple-A Rochester to take Pelfrey's spot on the roster.
Pelfrey has struggled with a 7.99 ERA in five starts this season, including another subpar outing in Game 1 of Thursday's doubleheader against the Dodgers, giving up five runs over four innings.
Pelfrey maintained after his start that he was healthy but told Twins manager Ron Gardenhire on Friday that he was dealing with a groin injury. The Twins are hopeful the rest will help Pelfrey regain his velocity, as his fastball is averaging 91 mph compared with 92.4 mph last year, according to Fangraphs.com. Pelfrey has also struggled with his control, walking 18 batters in 23 2/3 innings.
"He came in today saying his groin was bothering him," Gardenhire said. "He tweaked it yesterday and didn't want to make any excuses. He came in today sore. We told him this might give him an opportunity to get his leg well. And then he can go on a rehab assignment and try to get it straightened out. So it's two-fold, get healthy and also figure out why his velocity has dropped down."
Deduno will move from long relief into the rotation to take Pelfrey's place. Deduno has a 2.89 ERA with 18 strikeouts and nine walks in 18 2/3 innings. He also threw 64 pitches in relief for Pelfrey on Thursday. Deduno made 18 starts last year, posting a 3.83 ERA with 67 strikeouts and 41 walks over 108 innings.
"We like what he did last year at times, so we'll see what happens," Gardenhire said. "We'll go from there."
Gardenhire added that outfielder Oswaldo Arcia was not recalled from Triple-A Rochester because he was still on a rehab assignment. Arcia has been on the DL with a right wrist strain since April 5. Infielder Eduardo Nunez is also still at Rochester with an oblique strain.
So the Twins went with Santana, who is rated the club's No. 10 prospect by MLB.com. He was hitting .268/.311/.381 with seven doubles and four stolen bases in 24 games at Rochester.
"After a slow start he swung the bat better," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "We were just trying to find the right fit. Arcia would've been ideal as a bat on the bench, but he needs at-bats and more time down there."
Willingham to return to cage after feeling pain
MINNEAPOLIS -- Outfielder Josh Willingham said he was scheduled on Saturday to take swings in the batting cage for the first time since he felt lingering soreness in his left wrist on Tuesday.
Willingham, on the 15-day disabled list since April 7 with a small fracture in his left wrist, tried to swing on Tuesday but saw his session cut short. He was hoping a few more days of rest would allow him to swing pain-free on Saturday.
"It's not well enough to swing it, or at least it wasn't the other day," Willingham said. "I think it has a lot to do with where the injury is. It's the bottom hand, and when you try to turn it over, that's right where the injury was."
Willingham said there was no timetable for his return until he was able to swing without issue, added that he believed he would need a rehab assignment because he had been out so long.
"We'll have to see how it goes, I guess," Willingham said. "But I don't know when I'll go on rehab."
Hicks to concussion DL; prospect Darnell called up
MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins center fielder Aaron Hicks was placed on the seven-day disabled list Friday with concussion-like symptoms. The Twins called up left-hander Logan Darnell to take Hicks' place on the roster.
Hicks sustained the injury in Game 2 of Thursday's split doubleheader against the Dodgers when he crashed into the center-field wall in the sixth inning trying to catch a deep drive from Scott Van Slyke, hitting his head on the wall as he tried to make the catch. The ball went off Hicks' glove for a triple, and Hicks remained on the ground for several minutes after the play.
Hicks remained in the game after the play despite a visit to center field from Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and trainer Tony Leo, but he was replaced by a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning.
Gardenhire said Hicks was still dealing with concussion-like symptoms on Friday, so they decided to put him on the DL.
"He's the same as last night," Gardenhire said. "It was one of those shaky moments where he took a good whack against the wall out there. So we put him on that seven-day concussion DL, and we'll let him get well. This is something you don't mess with."
With the Twins playing 21 innings on Thursday, they decided to add an arm to their bullpen and went with Darnell, who is expected to pitch in long relief.
Darnell, who was originally drafted by the Twins in the sixth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, made four starts for Triple-A Rochester, posting a 1.69 ERA with 21 strikeouts and seven walks.
"He was starting down there and was throwing the ball well," Gardenhire said. "We need innings. We have to have a guy up here that's stretched out. He can throw 100 pitches if we need it."
Darnell was in uniform and ready to pitch against the Orioles on Friday, as his turn in the rotation was scheduled to come on Saturday with Rochester. He said he woke up after midnight with several missed calls and texts from Triple-A manager Gene Glynn, Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony and Twins traveling secretary Mike Herman to tell him he was getting called up for the first time in his career.
"It's definitely exciting," Darnell said. "It's something you always look forward to as a baseball player. When you're young you look forward to it, and when you're in the Minors you're always pushing to get there."