Notebook: Twins likely adding 13th pitcher for Monday's doubleheader
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MINNEAPOLIS -- With a doubleheader against the Cleveland Indians looming on Monday and only two off days until September, Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is eyeing his options for adding a 13th pitcher to the roster.
"We're still trying to see how we get through (Sunday)," Gardenhire said. "And there's a really good chance we'll bring up another pitcher."
Triple-A All-Star Chuck James would be the most logical option, as the left-hander has posted a 2.25 ERA with 48 strikeouts to 18 walks in 40 innings for Rochester.
But Gardenhire said he and pitching coach Rick Anderson would like to see somebody who can pitch up to six innings if needed, mostly because of the uncertainty of Game 1 starter Scott Baker's elbow.
"You really have to protect yourself with him, not knowing exactly what we're going to get out of him and how his elbow's really going to feel until he gets out there going full-boar," Gardenhire said. "So we just have to protect ourselves here, because we're taking (Anthony) Swarzak out of our bullpen and starting him the second game. ...
"He says he feels great," Gardenhire said. "Mentally he's just going to have to get out there and put it out of his mind."
The Twins moved right-hander Eric Hacker off the 40-man roster earlier in the month, leaving a slot open if they choose to use it.
Right-hander Kyle Gibson owns a 4.17 ERA with 86 strikeouts and only 22 walks in 86 1/3 innings, but he's unlikely to be called up for two reasons -- the front office doesn't feel he is completely ready yet, and starting his clock for what could amount to an emergency long-relief appearance doesn't make much sense.
Another option could be left-hander Scott Diamond, who owns a 4.70 ERA in 17 starts for Rochester with 68 strikeouts and 30 walks in 92 innings.
Finding spots for Capps
With so many games on the schedule over the next few weeks and minimal downtime, Gardenhire doesn't have the luxury of picking and choosing spots for struggling right-hander Matt Capps.
"With all these games coming up, we're just going to -- when we have to pitch him we have to pitch him," Gardenhire said. "He's going to have to step up and get it done. It's to the point where really, pick and choose is a wonderful thing if you can do it, but he's going to have to go and get big outs in the seventh and eighth innings no matter what we do."
Capps has allowed runs in three of his last seven appearances, including two blown saves and an 11.12 ERA.
Gardenhire and Tsuyoshi Nishioka made a friendly wager for Sunday's Women's World Cup Final between U.S.A. and Japan.
"We've got our bet," Gardenhire said. "It's a very exciting day for both of us, I'm sure. Our women versus his women ... I wish I could trash talk in Japanese right now, because he'd hear it all. ...
"He's going to have to wear, 'I love American women' (t-shirt). I don't know what he's got for me."