Flailing Twins call up Bellaire’s Duffey for 1st season start today
By Mike Tenney
Bellaire native Tyler Duffey will make his first start of the 2016 Major League season for Minnesota Sunday afternoon in Washington D.C. after being called up to the Twins club Saturday morning.
Duffey, who went 5-1 last year in August and September as a starting pitcher after making his major league debut, started this season with the Minnesota Triple A team in Rochester (New York) after he didn’t make the 25-man opening day roster out of spring training.
According to various reports, Duffey, who was considered to be the Twins’ fourth or fifth starter, was asked at the outset of spring training to work on his off-speed pitches. He did that, but supposedly spent so much time focusing on that in his four starts in March, that he wasn’t where the organization wanted him to be to begin the year. He was optioned Tyler to Rochester, and Ricky Nolasco was designated as their fifth starter.
Meanwhile the Twins lost their first nine games this season and went into Saturday’s action with a 5-12 record, tied for the second-worst record in the Majors with the Houston Astros. (Atlanta is 4-12 and also lost their first nine games this year).
Duffey will pitch for Twins’ ace Ervin Santana, who is listed as day-to-day with a stiff back, but is expected to miss just one start. That means Duffey’s stint in the big leagues could be a long one or a short one, depending on how he does and how Santana’s injury heals.
Duffey had three starts at Rochester with no wins or losses and had a 1.72 Earned Run Average in 15 2/3 innings of work for the Red Wings.
He will be opposed by Washington fireballer Stephen Strasberg, who is off to a 3-0 start with a 1.25 ERA and 21 strikeouts in 21 2/3 innings of work so far.
The Nationals are off to a fast start this year, owning a 12-4 record going into Saturday’s games.