MINNEAPOLIS -- He may have given up three home runs, but the Twins view Saturday, May 11, as a positive step for Michael Pineda, who threw six-plus innings and took a no-decision in their 5-3 loss to the Tigers.
Pineda gave up three runs on six hits while striking out five and not allowing a walk. He said last month he had been working on his slider command. He got nine of his 15 swinging strikes on Saturday with the pitch and said he felt “pretty good,” with it, though one of the home runs he gave up came via the slider.
“I think there were again, long periods of time where he had command of all of his pitches and his slider looked good,” manger Rocco Baldelli said. “A few little spurts again where maybe he finds it and loses and finds it and loses it but as a whole I thought it was a very productive start.”
Pineda now has made seven starts since having Tommy John surgery in 2017 and though his elbow has been healthy for quite some time, he still doesn’t have many innings under his belt in the past year and a half, an important factor to keep in mind with him.
“I think that’s probably the most straightforward and fair way to assess it,” Baldelli said. “There’s no way to know every variable and every single thing he’s feeling. It has been a while since he’s been out there, but like I said earlier, he’s thrown together great stretches where he’s thrown very, very well. When we can just kind of lengthen those out a little bit more, we’re going to be in a great spot. Today was a very good day.”
Twins make roster moves
The Twins made a series of roster moves ahead of the doubleheader, placing Martin Perez on the paternity list, calling up Kohl Stewart in his place and adding Tyler Duffey as the 26th man.
But it was perhaps the roster move that they avoided that was the most important. Marwin Gonzalez, a day after colliding with Niko Goodrum at first base on an infield single, is doing well. The Twins held him out of the first game, but Gonzalez was in the lineup for the second game.
“I think we avoided an issue,” Baldelli said. “Obviously a little bit of a scary play, but him coming out of it with just a contusion and feeling pretty good is a very, very good outcome.”