Updated: August 11th, 2010 10:25pm
Glen Perkins roughed up in 6-1 loss, but could still see key role

Glen Perkins roughed up in 6-1 loss, but could still see key role

by Phil Mackey
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Glen Perkins was roughed up in his first major-league start since August 8, 2009, allowing six runs (four earned) on five hits and two walks in just 4 2/3 innings, as the Minnesota Twins lost to the Chicago White Sox, 6-1.

Perkins was greeted rudely in the second inning when Carlos Quentin roped a two-run bomb to left field. He was then unable to work out of a fifth inning in which he gave up two doubles and a single, was victimized by J.J. Hardy's throwing error, and drilled Quentin with a hard fastball.

This was a tough spot for Perkins against a right-handed heavy lineup. Right-handed hitters Quentin, Alex Rios, Paul Konerko all have OPS' over .800 this season (Konerko is .957), Gordon Beckham has an OPS over 1.000 since early July, and Alexei Ramirez, Juan Pierre and even Omar Vizquel are all on fire over the past 30 days.

In a vacuum, Perkins' performance didn't exactly assure him of a roster spot on a team chasing the American League pennant. Brian Duensing and Scott Baker aren't being pulled from the starting rotation anytime soon, and Kevin Slowey (elbow soreness) is scheduled to start again on Sunday.

If everyone stays healthy, the starting rotation is set, at least for now.

But Perkins could still play a key role for the Twins over the next eight weeks. Manager Ron Gardenhire has hinted strongly all season about his affinity for a long reliever. Perkins also happens to be left-handed, thus filling two needs.

Here's the other caveat; left-hander Jose Mijares left Wednesday's ballgame in the bottom of the eighth inning after tweaking his right leg. If he's forced to miss time -- and assuming Duensing remains in the starting rotation -- Ron Mahay would be the lone left-hander in the Twins bullpen.

Last season certainly had a rocky ending between the Twins and Perkins -- the lefty filed a grievance against the club regarding service time. Don't be surprised, however, if Perkins -- despite a rocky outing on Wednesday -- receives a second chance to prove his worth down the stretch.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
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