MINNEAPOLIS — Twins pitching coach Wes Johnson expects the team to roll with a five-man rotation when they begin their truncated 60-game season later this month.
Though president of baseball operations Derek Falvey previously had said that they had been floating the idea of a six-man rotation because the summer training camp offers players a shorter ramp-up time, the Twins look primed to begin the season with a rotation of Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill and Homer Bailey.
“As we stand today, we’d start with five. I would like to see two really good length options for us in our bullpen just in case we need to go early with some guys, but I tip our hat to our pitchers right now,” Johnson said. “They’ve come into this camp. They’ve all been following a plan that we’ve given to them and they’re in good shape.”
The Twins plan to keep 10 pitchers in Minneapolis stretched out — those five plus Randy Dobnak, Devin Smeltzer, Jhoulys Chacin, Lewis Thorpe and Sean Poppen — as well as Jhoan Duran and Dakota Chalmers stretched out in St. Paul. Michael Pineda also will prepare to start and be ready when the remainder of his suspension is up.
With a 30-man roster to begin the year, Johnson said he’d ideally like to see 15 or 16 pitchers with the club as they work to get stretched out. As for potentially piggybacking starters once the season begins, Johnson said that would be something they would continue to evaluate as they go through camp.
“Our hope and plan is that our starters will be ready, and they’ll be able to go out and hypothetically be on a 5-and-100 or 6-and-100, something along those lines. 90? Somewhere in there,” Johnson said. “That’s what we’re going to have them ready for, all things being equal.”
Buxton, Stashak join camp
Center fielder Byron Buxton and reliever Cody Stashak cleared their intake testing and participated in their first day of summer training camp on Tuesday. Both players had been on paternity leave after recently welcoming baby boys.
Buxton and his wife, Lindsey, welcomed their second son, Blaze Jett, on July 3 and Stashak and his wife Taylor welcomed Colton Joseph, their first child, on June 17.
“They’ve had a lot going on in their lives. Today was a good day to just get them out here, get them moving around,” manager Rocco Baldelli said. You know we always like to build our guys up and kind of assess them before we throw them out there and do too much. That was kind of today for us. Both looked really good.”
Intrasquad games starting
The Twins had a shortened day of camp on Tuesday in preparation for the beginning of their instrasquad games on Wednesday as they move closer to simulating a game environment.
Baldelli said they would have four different groups of hitters come in to face live pitching. Those who weren’t hitting would be in the field manning their positions. The Twins will bring in players who are training in St. Paul to help in the field and on the bases.
The goal for the day is to get almost everyone six innings in the field and two to three at-bats against live pitching, Baldelli said.