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Updated: September 3rd, 2010 1:31am
Mackey: Sorting out the aftermath of Thursday's 13-inning mess

Mackey: Sorting out the aftermath of Thursday's 13-inning mess

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by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- There are several questions to answer following the Minnesota Twins' epic 13-inning loss to the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night.

How bad is Scott Baker's elbow injury?

Why did the Twins botch so many double plays?

How is it possible to record 15 hits and have all of them be singles?

Who will be the starting pitcher on Friday night?

Who is available/unavailable Friday night?

And perhaps most importantly, how could the Twins not call up any pitchers from Class-AAA Rochester in the two days since rosters expanded on September 1?

As for Baker, who left after two innings on Thursday, he received a cortisone shot to help relieve another episode of elbow tendinitis. He will likely miss at least one start, possibly more.

On the topic of bullpen availability, Jesse Crain is definitely out for Friday, according to manager Ron Gardenhire, and it's likely Brian Fuentes (back), Matt Guerrier (extensive workload) and Jeff Manship (four innings on Thursday) are out. Matt Capps was unavailable on Thursday night due to soreness, so his status for Friday is questionable.

Regarding Friday night's starting pitching conundrum -- one that likely could have been avoided with the addition of an extra bullpen arm or two -- the Twins have very few options available.

Friday's originally scheduled starter Nick Blackburn has been pushed back to Sunday, which is when Brian Duensing was originally scheduled to start. Duensing, after throwing 33 pitches over two innings on Thursday night, has been moved to the back of the rotation.

After meeting with general manager Bill Smith late Thursday night, Gardenhire said the plan for Friday is to call up two or three pitchers from Class-AAA Rochester. One of them is likely to start on Friday night, with the others serving as reinforcements to the weary.

"They're on the road at Triple-A, and we're trying to get a hold of everybody and trying to make decisions here," Gardenhire said. "So we'll have a starter for tomorrow's ballgame and a couple relievers coming up here. I can't tell you their names right now. We just don't have them."

Two of those pitchers will likely be Anthony Slama and Alex Burnett, who last pitched on August 27. Pat Neshek is another possible option, as is Rob Delaney.

But those four are all relievers, and they aren't likely to be able to pitch beyond two innings.

If the Twins are looking for starters on the 40-man roster, Deolis Guerra and Anthony Swarzak are the only two options, and Swarzak just threw six innings on Wednesday night. So he's unavailable.

Guerra (6.84 ERA) has been flat-out terrible. So he's likely out.

What about Glen Perkins? Well, he threw two innings for Rochester on Thursday night, and because he was sent down on August 27, the Twins must wait three more days until calling him back up. Players must spend at least 10 days in the minors after being sent down, unless the Twins place Baker on the disabled list -- something they aren't yet ready to do.

What about Carl Pavano? He last pitched on Sunday, meaning he'd be working on the standard four days rest if he threw Friday night. But Gardenhire ruled that out, saying, "No chance. Absolutely not."

Pavano will make his regularly scheduled start on Saturday. And even if he did pitch on Friday night, the Twins would still find themselves looking for a starter on Saturday.

Another option is to transfer Justin Morneau (out since July 7) to the 60-day disabled list, thus opening up a 40-man roster spot for a guy like right-hander David Bromberg or right-hander Matt Fox.

Bromberg just pitched on Tuesday, so he's likely unavailable, but Fox last pitched Monday, so he could come back on three days rest, theoretically.

But think about that.

The Twins would be creating a 40-man roster spot for a guy, Fox, to pitch on three days rest when he never would have even sniffed the major leagues in 2010 under normal circumstances.

Update: The Twins confirmed it. Matt Fox, Rob Delaney and Alex Burnett will be called up in time for Friday night's game. 

So, who knows?

I just know that 15 singles is a lot of paper cuts.

And not bringing up an extra bullpen arm or two opened the flood gates to a manager's worst nightmare on Thursday night.

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.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
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