Twins Thursday: Gibson likely to also miss Saturday start

Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson missed his last start with tightness in his back.

Jesse Johnson/Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins were hopeful that Kyle Gibson’s back would heal in time for him to start Saturday against Chicago. With two days until that day, it doesn’t appear likely that will be the case.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Thursday that the chances of Gibson starting Saturday are "not very good." If Gibson indeed is unable to start, Minnesota will likely have to recall a pitcher from the minor leagues to make a spot start.

"We’re not ready to make some big announcement," Gardenhire said. "I think more than likely we’re going to end up finding a starter for Saturday. He’ll probably go somewhere like next Tuesday. That sounds like not an official announcement, but it’s pretty damn close."

Gibson was originally slated to start Wednesday against Cleveland but experienced tightness in his back on Monday. When things didn’t get better Tuesday, the Twins had to use reliever Anthony Swarzak as a spot starter Wednesday afternoon. When Swarzak was inserted into the rotation, Gibson was pushed back to Saturday.

Now it appears Minnesota will once again have to figure out someone to replace Gibson.

"He feels better, but you have to give him his time," Gardenhire said. "He’s a young pitcher. We don’t want to stick him out there and rush him through this thing and try to get him back out on the mound."

In 19 starts this year, Gibson is 8-8 with a 4.19 ERA. He’s struck out 54 batters and issued 30 walks in 107 ⅓ innings.

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If and when Minnesota does call up a pitcher to take Gibson’s start, the Twins will need to free up a spot on the 25-man roster. That could end up being infielder Jorge Polanco, who was recalled Thursday after the Twins traded first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales to Seattle.

"I’ve got him for a few days here until we make a decision on where we’re going and what we have to do here Saturday," Gardenhire said of Polanco. "That’s the big thing here is Saturday. Get a player in here to help us out for a few days until we make a roster decision. He was on his way to Double-A. . . . We intercepted him. We caught him in the airport and just rerouted him."

Pressly back with Twins: For the first time in 2014, reliever Ryan Pressly was in the same Twins clubhouse where he spent the entire 2013 season.

Minnesota optioned reliever Matt Guerrier after Wednesday’s game and recalled Pressly from Triple-A Rochester. Pressly pitched for the Twins as a Rule 5 pick in 2013 but didn’t make the club out of spring training.

Though it’s later than he would have liked, Pressly is back in the majors.

"Everybody’s always waiting down in Triple-A. You’re pretty much knocking on the door to the big leagues," Pressly said. "I was waiting, but I just wanted to go out there and keep doing my thing, keep pitching and try to pitch good for Rochester."

The 25-year-old Pressly had a 3.87 ERA in 49 appearances (76 ⅔ innings) with the Twins last season. In 35 games with the Red Wings before his call-up, Pressly posted a 2.98 ERA and also saved six games for Rochester.

"Press threw really, really well for us last year," Gardenhire said. "He’s been throwing very well down there, great velocity, attacks the strike zone. He’s got a real tight curveball. He looks great. He’s in great shape. He got great reports. He’s throwing good. Good to have him back up here."

Coaching staff temporarily shuffled: Twins third base coach Joe Vavra has been sidelined with a hip injury after an MRI over the All-Star break revealed a torn labrum in his hip. That forced Gardenhire to move first base coach Scott Ullger to third base, with coach Paul Molitor taking over at first base.

But Molitor will be in Cooperstown, N.Y., this weekend for the Hall of Fame inductions. So the Twins will use Sam Perlozzo, the team’s minor league instructor, as the first base coach starting Friday. Perlozzo spent parts of three seasons managing the Baltimore Orioles from 2005-07 and has since been a coach with various organizations.

As a player, he briefly spent time with the Twins when he played 10 games with Minnesota in 1977. Perlozzo was also Gardenhire’s manager at Triple-A Tidewater when Gardenhire was in the Mets organization.

"It’s nice to have him up here," Gardenhire said. "We definitely needed a little help."

Gardenhire added that it’s likely Ullger will remain the third base coach for the duration of the season. Vavra may elect for surgery on his hip, and Gardenhire has urged him to have the procedure done sooner rather than later.

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