MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Twins closer Matt Capps rejoined his team Friday after spending time on the 15-day disabled list. But manager Ron Gardenhire said the plan is to ease Capps back into the closer’s role.
“We’ll put him in a couple of different situations,” Gardenhire said before Friday’s game against Oakland at Target Field. “This is the big leagues, so nothing’s going to be easy. We’re probably not going to use him in the ninth a couple of times, to make sure he’s feeling good and throwing the ball good, then slide him back in there.”
Capps was placed on the DL on June 25 after dealing with inflammation in his right shoulder. He made two appearances with Class-A Fort Myers during a brief rehab stint. During those games, he allowed one hit and one unearned run in two innings of work.
While Capps knows the decision to use him as a closer is up to Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson, Capps said he feels ready to step into a save situation.
“I don’t think they would have activated me if I wasn’t ready,” Capps said Friday. “See what they decide to do, whether it’s in the ninth inning in a one-run game or kind of ease into those situations. We’ll have to wait and see what Gardy and Andy want to do.”
In 27 games this season with the Twins before going on the DL, Capps had a 3.42 ERA and 14 saves. While Capps was sidelined, Minnesota used a combination of right-hander Jared Burton and left-hander Glen Perkins to close games.
If the Twins are looking to protect a close lead Friday or Saturday, it may be Burton or Perkins in the ninth inning instead of Capps.
“The competitive side of me wants to jump right in but they don’t pay me to make those decisions. It’s up to them,” Capps said. “If I didn’t feel like I was ready to get right back into it I probably wouldn’t be here. I think it will be out of my hands, which is fine. We’ll see what we decide to do.”