MINNEAPOLIS — One Twins rookie pitcher’s struggles are another Twins rookie pitcher’s opportunity.
The team recalled right-handed reliever Michael Tonkin on Tuesday morning. He’ll replace Kyle Gibson on the active roster after the first-year starter was sent down Monday.
With a high innings count and Minnesota out of the playoff picture, Gibson almost certainly will be shut down long before he’d ever earn another 2013 call-up.
Tonkin, however, gets a chance finish out the year in the big leagues and earn his way onto next year’s everyday roster.
A tall (6-foot-7), bulky (220 pounds), hard-throwing (95 mph fastball) prospect, Tonkin made his major league debut July 11 at Tampa Bay, throwing 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. He was optioned shortly after as Caleb Thielbar returned from the bereavement list.
Since then, Tonkin has recorded six saves in 12 appearances for the Rochester Red Wings and recorded a 3.95 ERA and 14 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings pitched.
With Minnesota sitting 18.5 games back of first-place Detroit in the American League Central Division, Tonkin had been mentioned as a prime September call-up candidate. Now, he gets an additional two weeks to show general manager Terry Ryan what he can do coming out of the bullpen.