Twins Friday: Pelfrey to DL, Deduno to starting rotation

With Thursday's loss, Mike Pelfrey fell to 0-3 with a 7.99 ERA in five starts this season.

Ann Heisenfelt/Ann Heisenfelt/AP

MINNEAPOLIS — One day after another rough start, Minnesota right-hander Mike Pelfrey appears to be heading to the disabled list.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Friday that right-hander Samuel Deduno will take Pelfrey’s place in the starting rotation. Pelfrey, meanwhile, tweaked his groin during Thursday’s start against the Dodgers. The Twins will make a move following Friday’s game to place Pelfrey on the 15-day disabled list.

Though Pelfrey said following his loss Thursday that he felt fine physically, he told the team the following day that it was bothering him.

"He said he didn’t want to say anything because he didn’t want to make excuses. He’s not an excuse maker," Gardenhire said. "He’ll do whatever we want him to do. If you’ve got a bad groin, we can’t really stick you in the bullpen."

With the loss Thursday, Pelfrey fell to 0-3 with a 7.99 ERA in five starts this season. He was 5-13 with a 5.19 ERA in his first year with the Twins in 2013.

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Putting Pelfrey on the disabled list will allow him to try to straighten himself out by making a few rehab starts.

"It’s twofold: get healthy, and then also maybe try to figure out why his velocity’s dropped down. The groin probably didn’t help yesterday," Gardenhire said. "He says his arm’s fine. This will give us a little bit of time here."

In the meantime, Deduno slides into that spot in the rotation. Deduno made 18 starts for the Twins last year but has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen so far in 2014. He threw four innings of relief in the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader and will now start on Tuesday in Cleveland.

Assistant general manager Rob Antony said the Twins will call up infielder Danny Santana for Saturday’s game against Baltimore. In 24 games with Rochester this year, Santana is batting .268 with seven RBI and four stolen bases.

Minnesota placed outfielder Aaron Hicks on the 7-day concussion disabled list Friday, meaning the Twins have just two bench players for Friday’s game — Pedro Florimon and Chris Herrmann.

"I’ve never done it," Gardenhire said of managing with a two-man bench. "We’ve had injuries. Yes, I’ve been down to one player during the course of a game. But I think we started with two (healthy) players maybe one other time because of injuries.  . . . Never had 14 pitchers, so there you have it. This is a first."

Darnell arrives in Minneapolis: The reason the Twins have 14 pitchers Friday is because they promoted left-hander Logan Darnell from Triple-A Rochester to take Hicks’ spot on the 25-man roster. Minnesota burned through its bullpen by playing 21 total innings against the Dodgers Thursday night and needed another arm.

By the time the decision was made late Thursday night — or technically, Friday morning — Darnell was asleep. He wound up sleeping through about five calls between 12:15 and 12:30 a.m., including two from Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony.

When Darnell finally woke up at about 12:45 a.m. and saw the messages on his phone, he had a good idea of what was up.

"I woke up and I looked at my phone and I was like, ‘Oh gosh. I missed something,’" Darnell said Friday after he arrived in the Twins’ clubhouse. "I saw who the missed calls were from. I kind of knew. I didn’t know, but I had a good feeling about it before I called them back."

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The first call the 25-year-old Darnell made was to Rochester manager Gene Glynn, who officially gave him the news that he was on his way up to the major leagues for the first time. After that, Darnell called his parents, who were vacationing in Georgia.

Like their son not long before, the Darnells were asleep when the call came in. After trying a few times, Darnell was able to connect and share the good news with them.

"They were asleep, too. They go to bed early," Darnell said. "They were excited. It took me about three calls to call them. I guess it runs in the family."

Though Darnell was starting games in Rochester — he had a 1.69 ERA in four starts this year — he’ll pitch out of the bullpen for Minnesota. He has made a handful of relief appearances during his minor league career and pitched out of the bullpen for two seasons at the University of Kentucky.

When he does make his major league debut, it’ll likely be in a relief effort.

"They told me to be ready tonight if they need me in the pen," Darnell said. "I’ll do whatever they want me to do, but I think I’m just going to be in the pen, maybe long relief."

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