Notebook: Waldrop's audition begins; Hendriks set for MLB debut
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Despite another string of injuries, the Minnesota Twins' clubhouse was actually a bit more crowded than usual on Monday morning due to the arrival of reinforcements -- right-handers Kyle Waldrop and Liam Hendriks, and utility-man Brian Dinkelman.
Waldrop and Dinkelman were both active and available Monday -- with Dinkelman starting at second base -- but Hendriks will wait until Tuesday before he makes his first major league start.
The Twins will make a 40-man roster move before the end of Monday's doubleheader to clear room for Hendriks. Nick Blackburn (forearm) was moved to the 60-day disabled list Sunday to make room for Waldrop, and there's a chance Francisco Liriano (shoulder) could be moved to the 60-day DL to make room for Hendriks.
At 6-5, 215 pounds, Waldrop's figure might suggest he's a strikeout artist, but that isn't the case.
To go along with a 3.19 ERA in 166 2/3 career Triple-A innings, Waldrop has fanned 104 batters while issuing only 38 walks. He relies mostly on a sinking fastball to induce groundballs, which is why he has caught the eye of manager Ron Gardenhire over the last two spring trainings.
"He's a big kid with an angle," Gardenhire said. "He's not overpowering, but he's got a hard ball -- a heavy ball, as they say. ...
"We've liked him for the last couple years actually. I thought last year he was going to get an opportunity and it didn't work out, but he's done another good job. He threw the ball well down there and was used in a lot of different roles."
Waldrop struggled during the early part of Rochester's season, but after making a couple mechanical adjustments he has fared extremely well since the All-Star break.
"I think they liked the way I competed," Waldrop said when asked about his spring-training conversations with Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson. "I attacked hitters. I don't have overpowering stuff -- try to use my sinking fastball and just try to attack hitters and let the defense play behind me. ...
"That's what I try to do. I don't try to blow hitters away. ... Just let the movement of the fastball do its work."
Waldrop, 25, was a first-round draft pick for the Twins in 2004. He transitioned from starter to reliever prior to the 2009 season after undergoing surgery, and he was with the Twins in late-March of 2010 when they hosted the St. Louis Cardinals for two exhibition games at Target Field prior to the season-opener.
If Waldrop pitches well in September, he's a strong candidate to start the season in the big leagues next April.
Hendriks set for MLB debut
Hendriks, a native of Perth, Australia, will have a familiar face to look at when he makes his major-league debut on Tuesday night.
"I'm from the same area as Luke (Hughes), so it's definitely nice to have a friendly face on the team," he said. "That definitely helps make things a little bit easier I hope."
Hendriks doesn't bring electric stuff to the table, but he's a control specialist who walked only three batters in 49 1/3 Triple-A innings this season. Between Double-A and Triple-A, Hendriks posted a 3.36 ERA with 111 strikeouts, 21 walks and only five home runs allowed in 139 1/3 innings.
"I've been throwing everything lately," Hendriks said. "My put-away pitch is my slider at the moment, and I've been throwing my changeup really well to lefties. But I throw a lot of fastballs and just get ahead with that and see how it goes."
Hendriks hasn't been told yet whether he'll remain with the club through the end of the season, but with the starting rotation in shambles, he may stick around to make multiple starts.
• OF Denard Span (migraine and concussion symptoms) has been working out at Target Field since Saturday, but he still feels "spaced out" off and on. Span hopes to return ot action before the end of the season, but there are no guarantees.
• LHP Brian Duensing has been doing "pretty good" since straining his oblique over the weekend, according to head athletic trainer Rick McWane, and he will start with exercises this week.
• 1B Justin Morneau (mild concussion symptoms) worked out Monday morning, but there is no immediate plan for him to return to the lineup. When he does, it will likely be as a designated hitter.
• LHP Glen Perkins (forearm discomfort) played catch prior to Game 1 Monday, but he was unavailable to pitch until at least Tuesday.
• Liriano (shoulder) started throwing on Monday, but there's still a chance he could be shut down for the season.