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Updated: July 6th, 2014 5:31pm
Could Twins move Ricky Nolasco move to the bullpen?

Could Twins move Ricky Nolasco move to the bullpen?

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Twins are considering moving their expensive starter to the bullpen.

Ricky Nolasco struggled again Sunday. This time, he allowed six earned runs in 2 innings of work before the Twins were forced to turn to the bullpen for the third inning.

It's the seventh start of the season in which Nolasco has allowed at least five earned runs. The Twins expect better than that, after signing him to a contract this offseason that will pay him at least $49 million over four seasons. 

His track record suggests he should be much better than this. But through 18 starts, the righthander is 5-7 with a 5.90 ERA.

"You know what? We're discussing a lot of options and trying to figure it out ourselves," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It starts with him. He's got to do a better job. The bottom line is he needs to figure out something because today wasn't any good at all. He didn't do anything. He didn't locate anything. They were all over every pitch. We have to figure out where we go next. That's what we're going to do and do here."

Is the bullpen a possibility?

"We're going to figure it out. We're still talking about it," Gardenhire said. "We're trying to figure out what we need to do next."

The Twins trailed 6-0 early Sunday, but they scored seven runs to get back in the game. They lost, 9-7, and lost the series, three games to one. 

"[Nolasco] didn't give us a chance. To our credit, to the guys out there, they kept playing and got within a couple of runs there at the end and actually had a chance to tie that ballgame up with a homer," Gardenhire said.

"But starting pitching sets the tone, we needed something from him to build on his last one and it wasn't there."

Gardenhire rebuffed the question about whether Nolasco is fully healthy. 

"He hasn't said a word about it," Gardenhire said. "I'm not going to blame it on anything other than [redacted] pitching."

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
In this story: Ron Gardenhire
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