After job well done from Dereck Rodríguez, Twins turn to fresh arm, Ronny Henriquez – InForum


CLEVELAND — Dereck Rodriguez got the call around 11:15 a.m. Saturday morning: He was needed in Cleveland — immediately.

A little over an hour later, he was on a plane to meet the twins in Ohio. Hours later, he was activated before the second game of the Twins’ doubleheader to join the bullpen, and after messing up five other helpers, the Twins handed the game to Rodriguez.

“I sat there for five hours and then the phone rang and there was nobody in the bullpen,” he said. “I knew the game was pretty much mine until it was over.”

Rodriguez covered the final 3⅔ innings of the marathon game that the Twins lost to a mistake by Jermaine Palacios in the 15th inning.

Rodriguez’s reward for good work? A trip back to Triple-A.

Dereck Rodmug.jpg

Dereck Rodriguez

“D Rod was great. Brilliant. We didn’t play baseball that long last night without him and we won’t be able to last this game,” said manager Rocco Baldelli. “It’s not easy to set up zeros when runners start at second base.”

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Baldelli said Rodriguez, a starter originally scheduled to start for the Saints on Saturday, would have served indefinitely if play had resumed. And with the bullpen, now including Rodríguez, so heavily loaded after the doubleheader, the Twins needed to bring in a fresh arm. That was rookie Ronny Henriquez.

“On the human side, when you look over at a guy who just did what he did, you can tell him all the incredible things that he just did and acknowledge those things,” Baldelli said of Rodriguez. “I think not only is that worth doing — I think those things need to be said. But there is no alternative at this point either, and he understands that. I think he probably understands it as well as any player.”

Henriquez, 22, was part of the return from the Texas Rangers in March for catcher Mitch Garver. The No. 22 Twins per MLB pipeline has spent all season at Triple-A St. Paul and posted a 5.66 earned run average over 95⅓ innings.

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Henriquez was used as both a starter and a multi-inning reliever at St. Paul that year.

“He made a lot of good moves at Triple-A,” Baldelli said. “I think he’s a significantly better pitcher with a lot of different tools to look at than he was at the start of the year. … I could see a lot of scenarios where he actually comes out and he’s out there promoting us in spots that could be important spots.

Henriquez, who was absent against the Guardians on Sunday, said he was packing for the Saints’ next road trip to Indianapolis when he got the call from Triple-A manager Toby Gardenhire that he was joining the Twins.

“He asked me if I was willing to pitch and I said yes. And he said, ‘You’re playing in the big leagues tomorrow,'” Henriquez said. “And I was in shock.”

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When starting the pitcher Louie Varland officially returned to Triple-A after serving as Sunday’s 29th man, Baldelli said her plan is to now have him with her on the road trip as a member of a cab squad. “We’re letting him stay here with us on a routine now and we’ll see what happens.” … The San Francisco Giants called for helpers Year cotton of waivers. The Twins had picked the helper, who had a 2.83 earned run average in 25 games, for action four times this season.

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