Sunday, July 17, 2011

Twins Send Baker to the DL, Tolbert to Rochester, Call Up Two

When Scott Baker informed the Twins in his last outing that he had been experiencing some elbow discomfort they immediately removed him and skipped his following start the Sunday prior to the All-Star break. He had an MRI which showed no structural damage so the hope was that he could pick up his next start following the break.

Last night however Baker told the team that he still didn't feel well enough to start. Facing a double header against the Indians starting tomorrow - the first game of which Baker was expected to start - the team has choosen to send him to the disabled list and called up 25 year old lefty Scott Diamond, a Rule V selection who will start the second game of the twin bill.

Diamond has been thoroughly mediocre in AAA this year with a 6.65/2.93 K/BB ratio since coming over from the Braves organization in a trade for Billy Bullock that I really didn't like. He features a fastball in the 88-90mph range with average movement and command, with his best pitch being a 12-6 curve that has at times showed some promise. He'll also show righties a slider and lefties a changeup.

His stuff is fringy at best and the Twins should do everything in their power to avoid having to rely on him any more than is necessary. Actually, the fact that they've given Diamond the nod over top prospect Kyle Gibson is rather shocking given the latters far superior stuff and the importance of these games with the Indians.

The second half of the Twins moves was the demotion of utility man Matt Tolbert who has long been a favorite of Manager Ron Gardenhire to make room for left handed reliever Chuck James - also a former Brave.

Tolbert's presence had become a bit redundant given the presence of infielders Luke Hughes and Trevor Plouffe. Still, the fact that Tolbert has long been a player Gardenhire has lauded praise upon makes his demotion at least a little surprising. In James the Twins will be adding another lefty to their bullpen who can help eat up innings over the next few days as a taxed bullpen.

While James has received a lot of attention from fans and bloggers for his performance in AAA, I'm still skeptical of his ability to contribute a significant number of positive innings at the MLB level, but he should be a better option the Phil Dumatrait.

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