Wanted: Starting pitchers for Twins

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 27, 2013
The pitchers who could save the Minnesota Twins aren't ready yet, and they may not be until 2014. Alex Meyer and Trevor May arrived in separate trades over the winter, bringing with them the kind of power arms and strikeout mentalities that have been sorely lacking in the organization's pitching stock for years. Both have yet to throw a pitch in Triple-A, and the Twins appear content to let them get some needed seasoning in the minors this year before giving them a shot at the big league rotation. Kyle Gibson, a first-round draft pick in 2009, appears to be closer to helping the beleaguered starting staff out. But he struggled with his command in his first spring training after Tommy John surgery and will start the season in Rochester as well. With Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham at or nearing the end of their primes, can the Twins afford to wait that long? ''We had a lot of starting pitching problems,'' Mauer said. ''It's been well documented. We're trying to fix that problem.'' After six AL Central titles in nine seasons, the Twins have lost 195 games over the last two years, with their pitch-to-contact starting staff the main culprits in last year's 96-loss season. With several high draft picks failing, general manager Terry Ryan went outside the organization to bring in reinforcements. He traded center fielders Denard Span and Ben Revere in separate deals to bring in Meyer and May, two big, strong, flamethrowers who were highly regarded in Washington and Philadelphia. That's for the future. When it comes to immediate help, Ryan went shopping in the bargain bin. Veteran sinkerballer Mike Pelfrey is coming off Tommy John surgery. Kevin Correia was demoted to the bullpen in Pittsburgh last season. Vance Worley had arm problems of his own last year. All three National League transfers have had rough springs, and with Scott Diamond starting the season on the disabled list and World Baseball Classic star Sam Deduno coming down with a groin injury, the search for an ace continues. Correia (6.30), Worley (6.35) and Pelfrey (7.45) all have high ERAs this spring, which doesn't inspire a ton of confidence that the group will be able to succeed where Jason Marquis, Carl Pavano, Nick Blackburn and Francisco Liriano all failed last year. While the names are different this season, the resumes are strikingly similar. Like Marquis, Correia is a back-of-the-rotation career National Leaguer who figures to have his location-based approach challenged more extensively in the American League. Like Pavano, Pelfrey is a solid, innings-eating veteran who is working his way back from an injury. At 24, Worley is looking to recapture the form that made him a promising piece of Philadelphia's star-studded rotation. Bone chips in his elbow contributed to a 6-9 record with a 4.20 ERA last season, and Worley hasn't been sharp this spring. But on a team with few options, he is the favorite to be the opening day starter. Worley is undaunted by coming over to pitch in the slugger-heavy AL. Actually he sees more of an opportunity for himself, Pelfrey and Correia to really assert themselves. ''I think most of us will be able to go deeper in the game,'' Worley said. ''I felt like that was something that hurt my innings last year, too. It was an opportunity for a pinch hitter. You're out of the game, and it's only the sixth inning. When it's something where the pitch count was down, you can maybe go seven or eight innings. I think we'll all be able to log some innings.'' The Twins need that more than anything. Their bullpen was a surprising bright spot last season, but they were overworked thanks to a starting staff that too often couldn't get past the fourth inning. For as solid as setup man Jared Burton and closer Glen Perkins are on the back end, it doesn't do much good if they never get the ball with a chance to lock down a lead. ''We've got guys that can hit. We can score runs,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ''We just needed to stay in the games a little bit longer, and hopefully that's what we've accomplished. We'll see.'' Gardenhire's future may depend on it. The popular skipper is in the final year of his contract, and another defeat-filled season could mark the end of his 12-year run in Minnesota. ''You know what, you should be held accountable year by year,'' he said. ''I have no problem with that. I'll go about my business. It's not going to change what I do, I don't think.'' --- Follow Jon Krawczynski on Twitter: http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Grizzlies want Kevin Durant in free agency

WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns throws down monster dunk

Dos Anjos: McGregor will 'break like a girl' at UFC 196

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell hit in groin by LeBron pass

Kobe Bryant has great response to Tyronn Lue story

Report: St. Louis Blues no longer interested in Jonathan Drouin


Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Free-agent WR Josh Morgan accidentally shot himself, charged with crime

Jon Beason retires after nine NFL seasons

Brewers Association sends Peyton Manning case of craft beer

Fighter says sex before fight partly to blame for loss

Kevin McHale: James Harden being out of shape hurt Rockets early

WATCH: Kevin Love re-injures left shoulder

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

Mario Williams recognizes Bills may release him

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker