5/3/2014 2:40 P.M. ET
Walks drop, strikeouts rise in Twins' losing streak
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- The offense was undoubtedly the biggest strength for the Twins in April, but they've struggled offensively in recent days, as they've seen their walk totals drop off and have struggled with runners in scoring position.
The Twins entered Saturday on a four-game losing streak, and they hadn't scored more than four runs in any of those contests. The Twins drew three or fewer walks in three of those losses, including on Friday, when they were shut out for just the second time this year. The team drew just two walks, while going 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
The Twins have been using walks to their advantage this year, as they're 11-6 when they draw four or more walks, but just 1-9 when they're limited to three or fewer walks. The Twins have also struck out at least nine times in three of their last four games.
"We're facing some pretty good pitching and we've missed some opportunities to get the runs in that we were getting in before," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "When you have chances with a man on third and less than two outs, you have to get them in. You have to put the ball in play, but we've had too many strikeouts."
Santana called up to replace Pelfrey on active roster
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins made it official on Saturday, as they placed right-hander Mike Pelfrey on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain and recalled shortstop Danny Santana from Triple-A Rochester.
Santana joined the Twins on Saturday, but he wasn't in the starting lineup. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he plans to use Santana in a variety of roles, including the outfield, with Santana getting work there during batting practice before Saturday's game.
"We'll use him in the infield, outfield, whatever," Gardenhire said. "We just needed a body, and he was on the roster. We liked him in Spring Training. He can run. He can play the outfield, so he's going to take some fly balls in the outfield. So we'll find ways to get him in there."
Santana, ranked as the club's No. 10 prospect by MLB.com, was hitting .268/.311/.381 with seven doubles and four stolen bases in 24 games at Rochester. Santana said he found out the news he'd be called up from Rochester manager Gene Glynn while taking batting practice on Friday, and he arrived in the Twin Cities at around 1 a.m.
"I was on the field taking batting practice and Geno told me, 'You are going to the big leagues,' and I was so happy," Santana said. "It's nice. I'm very excited to be here."
Pelfrey, meanwhile, will be replaced in the rotation by right-hander Samuel Deduno, who will start Tuesday in Cleveland. Pelfrey said he injured his groin during the first inning of the first game of Thursday's doubleheader against the Dodgers. He said he'll let his groin rest for a few days before going out on a rehab assignment, and he maintained that his arm is healthy despite his 7.99 ERA in five starts.
"I wasn't throwing the ball as well as I'd like, so maybe this is a blessing in disguise," Pelfrey said. "It'll be a chance to decompress and get this thing right."
Nolasco's complete game gives bullpen extra rest
MINNEAPOLIS -- After the Twins played 21 innings in Thursday's doubleheader against the Dodgers, Ricky Nolasco helped the bullpen out with his complete game in Friday's 3-0 loss to the Orioles.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said it was important for Nolasco to give the bullpen some much-needed rest, as they've been overworked in recent days.
"Completing a ballgame like that protected us," Gardenhire said. "We all know the bullpen situation with how much they've thrown the last couple days. So it's was a big performance from him."
Gardenhire added that he expected just about everyone to be available for Saturday's game as a result, although he wants to give left-hander Brian Duensing extra rest after going 2 2/3 innings in the second game of the twin bill. Right-hander Jared Burton also appeared in both games of the doubleheader.
The Twins, though, have some insurance in their bullpen after calling up left-hander Logan Darnell on Friday to serve as a long reliever.
"Guys like Duensing and maybe a few people might need another day, but I think we're OK," Gardenhire said. "Having Logan out there is pretty nice. I'm pretty sure we'll have most of them ready."