Pino to start Thursday in Major League debut
Righty, 30, will be called up from Triple-A; Deduno headed to bullpen
BOSTON -- The Twins will recall right-hander Yohan Pino from Triple-A Rochester to start against the White Sox on Thursday, with fellow right-hander Samuel Deduno heading to the bullpen. A corresponding roster move will come Thursday.
Pino, 30, has excelled with Rochester this year, going 9-1 with a 1.92 ERA while making seven starts and seven relief appearances. The 6-foot-2 right-hander also has struck out 61 and walked 16 in 61 innings.
He rejoined the Twins organization this year after being traded to Cleveland for right-hander Carl Pavano in 2009. He'll be making his Major League debut after 10 seasons and 292 career appearances in the Minors. He'll have to be added to the 40-man roster, but the club can shift right-hander Mike Pelfrey to the 60-day disabled list to make room for him. The 25-man roster move is unclear, but it's likely to be a pitcher sent out, as Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wants to keep a 12-man pitching staff.
Gardenhire said Pino isn't overpowering, as his fastball averages just 87-88 mph, but possesses a strong curveball and was the most deserving of several candidates at Rochester, including top prospects Alex Meyer and Trevor May.
"He's been lights out and has been pitching fantastic along with three or four other guys down there," Gardenhire said. "He's been throwing the ball well and doing everything they asked. He has a great ERA and the whole package. I think we could've had our choices down there and this is who they decided to go with because he's worked very hard."
Deduno, meanwhile, had struggled over his last four outings with a 10.13 ERA and will head back to the bullpen, where he began the season. He took the decision in stride, even though he prefers to be a starter.
"I'm happy to be here and in the bullpen," Deduno said. "I'm going to do my job. I have to keep my head up."
Nunez expects to be available off bench today
BOSTON -- Twins utility man Eduardo Nunez, who has been dealing with a strained hamstring since Saturday, was able to do more agility drills Tuesday, and said he expects to be available off the bench Wednesday.
Nunez said he was able to run up the steps at Fenway Park on Tuesday without any issues, and was hoping to try running the bases before Wednesday's game.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that he's hoping Nunez will be ready to start by Thursday, when the Twins head home to play the White Sox.
"Nunez is doing fine," Gardenhire said. "He went out and did all his stuff today. Said he'll be available [Wednesday] if we need him and ready to go when we get home."
Gardenhire, though, said it's tough playing with a short bench with Nunez out.
"I don't like having three guys on the bench," Gardenhire said. "We're playing short right now. It limits your ability to pinch-run and all those things. We have to wait until the last second to make decisions like that right now. I want him healthy, and it's taken longer than I originally wanted."
Hicks to begin rehab stint today at Double-A
BOSTON -- Center fielder Aaron Hicks is set to begin a rehab assignment with Double-A New Britain on Wednesday, the Twins announced.
Hicks was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday, retroactive to June 10, with a right shoulder strain. It came after he flew to Minnesota to have his shoulder checked out by team doctors Thursday.
He originally injured his shoulder while making a diving catch in center June 7. He served as a pinch-runner June 9, but the injury limited his ability to throw.
"We've talked about it and he's going to play center field, but also play in the corners," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said.
There's a good chance Hicks could remain in the Minors once his rehab stint is over, as the Twins want him to continue getting experience batting from the right side against right-handers now that he's dropped switch-hitting.