8/3/2014 9:00 P.M. ET
Twins envision Gibson as top-of-rotation arm
By Daniel Kramer / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Kyle Gibson opened the season toward the back end of the Twins' rotation, but he's slowly emerged as one of the club's top starters.
A first-round pick in 2009, Gibson had 11 quality starts in 20 tries entering Sunday -- including seven in which he's held the opposition scoreless.
But in his non-quality starts, Gibson has allowed five or more runs eight times, and averaged under five innings per outing.
"We're still working on the consistency part," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "His stuff is really good. A great angle. He feels he belongs now, and I think he has a lot of confidence now. It's just about going out and doing it on a day-to-day basis when you get the ball."
Gardenhire went on to say that Gibson, 26, could emerge as the team's ace.
"We think he's going to head our rotation for a few years to come," Gardenhire said.
The Twins have maintained a five-man rotation since an injury to Opening Day starter Ricky Nolasco, with Gibson and Phil Hughes at the top.
Twins claim outfielder Schafer off waivers
CHICAGO -- The Twins claimed outfielder Jordan Schafer off waivers from Atlanta, the team announced Sunday afternoon.
In a corresponding move, pitcher Logan Darnell was optioned to Triple-A Rochester after the Twins' 16-3 win over the White Sox.
Schafer was designated for assignment to create roster space after Atlanta's trade on Thursday to acquire Emilio Bonifacio and James Russell from the Cubs.
Manager Ron Gardenhire said Schafer will fill a void the Twins "desperately need" in center field after trading Sam Fuld to Oakland on Thursday.
"I know he's a baserunner, I know he's a stealer -- a little bit like Sammy Fuld. Slap guy," Gardenhire said of Schafer.
In 63 games this season, Schafer is hitting .163 with four doubles, two RBIs and 15 stolen bases -- not quite what the Braves expected from a third-round pick in 2005 who was once touted as the team's No. 1 prospect.
"He hasn't had great numbers, offensively, but the guy can play," Gardenhire said. "I know he's a speed guy. I know he can play some center field, and we desperately need that right now to free us up with Danny Santana and move him around a little, which we talked about."
Schafer was suspended for 50 games in 2008 for HGH, although he never tested positive for the banned substance. Schafer denies ever using HGH.
Schafer was dealt at the Trade Deadline in 2011 to Houston, where he played through the 2012 season. The 27-year-old was reclaimed by Atlanta off waivers in November 2012.
"The Braves wanted him back -- that says a little bit about him," Gardenhire said. "We didn't hear anything bad about the kid. We went out to get ourselves a center fielder to get us a little help out there. This guy is out there. We think he can do some things. He can fly a little bit, he can burn you. It was a need we definitely have right now. That's why we went after him."
Schafer is currently on a one-year, $1.09 million deal after signing a contract to avoid arbitration with the Braves last offseason.
Gardy wants to see Arcia improve vs. southpaws
CHICAGO -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wants Oswaldo Arcia to be an every day outfielder.
Yet the left-handed-hitting Arcia's .155 average vs. southpaws -- the eighth-worst mark in the Majors with a minimum 50 plate appearances -- has relegated the second-year outfielder to a platoon role for the bulk of the season. He's played in 58 games, batting .222 with seven homers and 22 RBIs entering Sunday.
"I don't want him sitting here," Gardenhire said. "If he's sitting every time they have a lefty out there, that's not going to help him. He's got to learn to hit these guys. The only way to do that is face them."
Arcia brought home the go-ahead runs in the Twins' 8-6 win over the White Sox on Saturday, but the 23-year-old was on the bench Friday until left-handed Chicago ace Chris Sale was relieved.
Arcia started Sunday's finale vs. White Sox left-hander Jose Quintana, against whom he was 1-for-8 with four strikeouts.
"Sale would be mean for me to do it to him, if you're not swinging good on lefties," Gardenhire said. "Quintana's no easy chore, either, but he's got to hit them."
So what has been the major problem, and is it fixable?
"He's just trying to hit the ball 8,000 miles right now," Gardenhire said. "Every swing he takes, he swings so frickin' hard that I don't know any way possible that your head can be on the ball. His good swings to this point have actually been those swings where he's shot a ball the other way or whatever, a little line drive to right field where he didn't go crazy and try to kill it."
• Trevor Plouffe, who entered Sunday's finale 7-for-10 in the series vs. the White Sox, lined a pair of doubles in Saturday's win to bring his season total to a career-high 31. That's also good for third in the Majors, trailing Miguel Cabrera (36) and Jose Altuve (32).
• Kennys Vargas, who entered Sunday 3-for-9 since his debut on Friday, was inserted to the heart of the order for the finale, batting fifth as the designated hitter.
Daniel Kramer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.