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Updated: August 16th, 2012 9:06pm
Esmerling Vasquez has emerged as intriguing potential Sept. call-up

Esmerling Vasquez has emerged as intriguing potential Sept. call-up

by Phil Mackey
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Recently, right-hander Esmerling Vasquez -- claimed off waivers last September as a reliever by the Minnesota Twins -- has been making noise as a starter for Triple-A Rochester.

On Wednesday night, Vasquez held the Indianapolis Indians scoreless over seven innings, striking out 10 while issuing only two walks and allowing only four hits.

Over his last three outings -- one start and two long relief appearances -- Vasquez has pitched 18 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing only eight hits and seven walks while striking out 20. On the season, Vasquez, 28, owns a 2.85 ERA with 87 strikeouts and 33 walks in 88 1/3 innings.

Vasquez throws a fastball that sits between 92 and 95 mph, plus a slider, curveball and changeup, and his secondary pitches "have improved over the year, especially his changeup," according to Twins minor league director Jim Rantz.

Vasquez had been pitching multiple innings in relief until making four starts at the end of July. The Twins then piggy-backed him off rehabbing starter P.J. Walters, who was on a pitch count in his early-august starts.

In his last full year as a starter in the Diamondbacks organization, Vasquez posted a 2.99 ERA with 151 strikeouts, 60 walks and 11 home runs allowed in 165 1/3 innings for Double-A Mobile. But that was back in 2007.

He could be an intriguing September call-up option.

The Twins' internal starting pitching options are as thin as they've ever been since the team began winning division titles in 2002. They've already used 11 starters this season, yet, aside from Scott Diamond, none are sure bets to be penciled into the rotation for 2013.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Scott Diamond, P.J. Walters