May 19, 2009

"Elbow Inflammation" sidlelines Perkins

The Twins placed starter Glen Perkins on the disabled list yesterday with what is being reported as "left elbow inflammation." Perkins has supposedly been dealing with some elbow soreness throughout his last few starts but either he never spoke up about it or the team just didn't think much of it. He is scheduled to have an MRI at some point today. And so far, it has been considered a "minor injury." Regardless, it will end up hurting the team who will now be without one of their starters for the foreseeable future. This unfortunately is already starting to sound like the same case that Francisco Liriano was involved in back in 2006.

Since starting 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in 24 innings (3 starts), Perkins has gone 0-2 with a 9.39 ERA in his last 23 innings (5 starts). Perkins hasn't seen a huge loss in velocity, but his location has been scattered in his recent starts which has resulted in him giving up six home runs (he didn't give up a single home run in his first 24 innings).

Taking his spot on the roster will be Sean Henn who has been Rochester's best reliever thus far this season. Henn posted a 1.13 ERA in 24 innings (15 appearances) while serving as the Red Wings' primary closer. Henn has a fastball that reaches 95 mph and will give the Twins a third left-handed option in their bullpen.

The move to add a reliever instead of a starter may be puzzling to some, but after the bullpen combined for 14 innings through the last four games and with no off-day scheduled until June, the bullpen could use some new arms to help prevent such injuries to other valuable arms.

The Twins will make a decision later this week on who will take Perkins rotation spot. His next scheduled start is Saturday against the Milwaukee Brewers, and the most likely move that I see the Twins making is just moving R.A. Dickey into his spot. Dickey threw 4 1/3 innings yesterday, replacing Perkins in the first inning, which would put him on track to take Perkins next start without having too little or too much time off.

If the Twins choose to promote a player from Triple-A, a player will then have to be moved to do so, which has been speculated lately. But in Triple-A, Anthony Swarzak seems to be the most logical of choices to take Perkins' spot. Swarzak features a great fastball that has hit the upper-90's but generally sits around 94 mph. He also has a great curveball and change-up that compliment his fastball.

Swarzak has seen his share of ups and downs. After being drafted in the second round of the 2004 draft he was making his way through the Twins minor league ranks before being suspended for 50 games in the 2007 season for violation of the Drugs of Use and Abuse program. He then struggled in 2008 at Double-A before being promoted (which was thought to be undeserving) to Triple-A. He has again begun to quite his doubters and through 14 Triple-A starts, he has an 8-4 record to go along with a 1.81 ERA. He has also averaged 7+ innings per start.

We'll see if that's enough to warrant a look at the Major League Level. Brian Duensing pitched great yesterday and already has seen time with the Twins, he could also be a consideration. At least the Twins have a couple viable options. Although it's still not the situation the Twins wanted to see themselves in this soon into the season.

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